Space News Archives

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Jim Hale’s
State of the Earth Report

For Friday, 25 November, 2022

This was the 329th day of the year with 36 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Scorpio and the astro-Logical sign of Sagittarius. The Waxing Crescent Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Sagittarius and the astro-Logical sign of Capricorn.

Be sure to look for a slim crescent Moon low in the west after sunset today and each evening over the weekend. And keep in mind that the Orion spacecraft, along with a life-size human mannequin and Snoopy from the comic strip Peanuts, will be in orbit around the Moon until December 1. A crucial engine burn was successfully completed just before 5:00 PM EST today, and the craft is now in the planned “Distant Retrograde Orbit”.

Two new fireball events seen along the US-Canadian border were logged by the American Meteor Society this morning. The most widely reported of these was a very bright fireball seen by about two dozen witnesses at 0407 UT, November 25th Most of the observers were in the area around Winnipeg, Manitoba, but the same fall was also seen in both of the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Saskatchewan. Two more events were logged later in the day today: one was seen over western Australia at 13:11 UT, and another over France and Switzerland at 17:52 UT.

The Leonid, Orionid, and Taurid meteor showers have all passed their peaks but they are still considered active showers, and now another major shower, the Geminids, is becoming active ahead of its predicted peak on December 14. These sources, along with several ongoing minor showers and the ever present sporadic meteors should produce a few visible trails every hour for watchers under clear dark skies.

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 61, down 7 from yesterday. The geomagnetic field has been Quiet, but the Planetary K Index has risen above its lows from earlier this week. The K Index nudged above 4 briefly today, which would be nearing the minor storm level criteria of 5, but later the K Index came down closer to 3.

The image below gives us a look inside the cabin of the Orion spacecraft on its way to the Moon. The mannequin in the pilot’s seat is outfitted with sensors to help assess conditions a real astronaut might experience on the next flight, and the small object floating around in an orange jumpsuit is Snoopy – probably helping to defend against attacks by any space-faring Red Barons?

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For Thursday, 24 November, 2022

This was the 328th day of the year with 37 days remaining.

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

The thinnest sliver of a crescent Moon might just be visible a few minutes after sunset today for observers with a clear view of the western horizon – and remember to look for Mercury and Venus low in the west immediately after sunset as well. Binoculars may help you spot these objects in the early twilight tonight, but tomorrow night the Moon will be setting almost an hour and a half behind the Sun so the crescent will be easy to see. (If your sky isn’t blocked by clouds, that is.)

All four of the new fireball events posted by the American Meteor Society this morning were from observers in Europe, especially Great Britain and France. There were 23 reports for an early morning fireball seen over those two countries, plus Germany and Belgium, at 0611 UT today.

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 68. Still low, but up 6 from yesterday. The geomagnetic field has remained Quiet. The Planetary K Index rose to 2 earlier today but has since dropped closer to 1.

Major earthquake activity has subsided for the time being, so that’s something to be thankful for.

And speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone listening, whoever and wherever you are!

We’d like to leave you with this curious image of the Sun that was taken by NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory at 12:37 UT this morning. Apparently the Sun was also wishing everyone a Happy Turkey Day!

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For Wednesday, 23 November, 2022

This was the 327th day of the year with 38 days remaining.

The Sun is now in the astro-Nomical constellation Scorpio and the astro-Logical sign of Sagittarius. The New Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio.

The Moon reached its New Phase today, meaning that it was directly between the Earth and the Sun at 2257 UT, just a few hours ago. You’ve probably heard the term “Supermoon” that usually refers to a Full Moon which looks bigger than normal because it is closer to the Earth than it normally is. Well, today’s New Moon is being called a “New Moon Supermoon” since the Moon is about 11,000 miles (or roughly 18,000 km) closer to Earth than it is on average. And while we can’t see the New Moon since it’s right in front of the Sun, the gravitational alignment of the Supermoon and Sun can definitely be felt by the Earth. Ocean tides will be higher than normal for one thing, and we have to wonder if there might be a causal relationship with the recent surge in earthquake activity.

At this time there have been 5 earthquakes at or above 6.0 magnitude since Friday. The most recent was a 6.1 at 0108 UT this morning in western Turkey. And by the way, we need to correct our statement that yesterday’s deadly earthquake in Indonesia had been listed as 5.1 by the US Geological Survey – the USGS does list it at 5.6 as most news sources are saying. Still, even a 5.6 is not typically expected to cause such widespread death and destruction, but one thing different about this one was that it was a “shallow” quake. Seismic events that occur closer to the Earth’s surface lose less of their energy as the force travels outward and upward, so they can have a much greater impact than the magnitude number would imply. And when they are centered near a densely populated area where structures are not built to adequately withstand the shaking, the results can be disastrous, as Indonesia experienced on Tuesday.

Fireball activity also appears to be on the rise again. The American Meteor Society has posted several new events from Monday and Tuesday night, with reports coming from Europe and just about all parts of the US. The most widely reported events were at 2142 UT on the 22nd with about 75 reports from Great Britain and France, plus another 65 reports coming from California and Nevada for a fireball seen at 0242 UT on November 23 (or about 6:42 PM on the 22nd PST).

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 61, down 22 from yesterday. The geomagnetic field has remained Quiet with the Planetary K Index still hovering around 1. Solar observations have detected some extreme activity on the far side of the Sun, so if the active region holds together it could be facing the Earth in about 10-14 days.

And finally, with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up and so many people making extensive travel plans over the next several days, we’d like to advise you to be alert to your local weather forecasts. Although conditions are relatively quiet and pleasant across much of the country today, a low pressure system currently developing in the western US is expected to bring a mixed bag of precipitation with everything from thunderstorms to heavy snow and rainfall across the south and southeast beginning Thursday and continuing through the weekend. New Mexico and the panhandle area of Texas are especially likely to see unusual amounts of early snow from this system.

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For Tuesday, 22 November, 2022

This was the 326th day of the year with 39 days remaining.

The Sun was in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waning Crescent Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio.

If you have a clear view of the western horizon take a look about 15 to 20 minutes after the Sun drops out of view and you might catch a glimpse of tiny Mercury and bright Venus following closely behind the Sun before they also dip out of sight. The Moon will be setting before the Sun tonight, and about the same time as the Sun tomorrow, so you won’t see it on those nights, but on Thursday night you might just see an extremely thin sliver of the Crescent Moon teaming up with Mercury and Venus soon after Sunset.

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 83, up 11 from yesterday. The geomagnetic field has remained Quiet with the Planetary K Index hovering around 1.

A 7.0 earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands at 2103 UT, just a few minutes after our broadcast ended last night. The Solomon Islands are located in the South Pacific east of Papua New Guinea with a total population of about 700,000. There were reports of collapsed roofs, communication and power lines down, and continued aftershocks. A tsunami warning was issued but withdrawn when the danger had passed. The Baja Peninsula in northwestern Mexico was also rocked today by a 6.2 magnitude quake at 1639 UT.

But another earthquake has proven more destructive and deadly today, even though it was of a much lower magnitude. Initially reported as a 5.6 quake, the USGS now has it listed as 5.1, but it toppled numerous buildings on the densely populated island of Java in Indonesia. At this time over 260 deaths have been reported, many of them schoolchildren, and the number of dead and injured is expected to rise.

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For Monday, 21 November, 2022

This was the 325th day of the year with just 40 days remaining.

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

Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are still prominent in the late night sky. Venus is setting about 20 minutes after the Sun goes down this week, so you might catch a brief glimpse of our sister planet if you have a clear view of the western horizon when twilight begins. Mercury, which had been visible before sunrise earlier in the month, has now circled around the Sun and is positioned between the Sun and Venus from our perspective on Earth, so it will also become visible after sunset soon.

The number of meteor fireball reports to the American Meteor Society has surged since our last broadcast on Friday. There were more than two dozen reports from New Zealand for a fireball at 1524 UT on the 18th, which would have been 4:24 AM of the 19th in their time zone. Over 130 reports were filed for a fireball seen at 0313 UT on the 20th (or 10:14 PM on the 19th EST) by observers in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario. And about 33 people in California, Arizona and Nevada reported a fireball seen around 0615 UT on the 20th, or about 10:15 PM on the 19th California time.

But the most newsworthy fireball event of the weekend occurred at 0827 UT on the 19th, which was 3:27 AM Saturday morning Eastern Time. Whereas most of the meteors that we see are actually particles smaller than a grain of sand, that early morning bolide was a small asteroid estimated to be about a meter in diameter. This asteroid was detected by astronomers just a few hours before it impacted the Earth’s atmosphere, and they were able to predict the time and place it would hit with impressive accuracy. Remnants of the asteroid landed over Lake Ontario between Hamilton, Ontario and Niagara Falls, NY. About 60 people witnessed the fireball and reported it to the AMS, and numerous video images captured by automated cameras have been posted to the web. This is said to have been the 6th asteroid impact that was successfully predicted, and the smallest asteroid ever discovered while I was still in space.

An M1 class solar flare erupted on Saturday, November 19 at about 1256 UT, triggering some brief effects in Earth’s ionosphere. The Planetary K Index ranged from 1 to 3 over the weekend and it nudged a little higher earlier today, but so far Geomagnetic conditions have not risen to the storm level forecasters were predicting last week.

Orion, the spacecraft NASA launched last week, made a successful loop around the Moon this morning. It took photos of the far side of the Moon, recorded data needed in advance of the next crewed mission, and successfully fired its engines in a maneuver that will help put it into what’s called a Distant Retrograde Orbit. This “DRO” is an elliptical orbit taking the craft as far as 40,000 miles from the Lunar surface, and will be finalized after another crucial engine firing on Friday. Then on December 1st another engine burn will send Orion back towards the Earth.

And finally, on Friday’s show we mentioned that Buffalo, New York was expected to get up to five feet of snow over the weekend. In fact, the official measurement at the Buffalo Niagara International

Airport was a mere 36.7 inches, but other localities nearby did receive five feet and up to nearly 7 feet of lake effect snow from this historic weather event.

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For Friday, 18 November, 2022

This was the 322nd day of the year with 43 days remaining.

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

We haven’t mentioned them lately but the planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are still gracing the evening skies with their presence. Saturn is now setting about an hour before midnight, and Jupiter around 2:00 AM, but Mars will be staying up all night long. And we’re pleased to announce that Venus is about to make a return visit to the night sky – in fact, if the Sun hasn’t set yet at your location, try looking for Venus trailing about 15 minutes behind the Sun as they make their way below the horizon. In the coming days and weeks Venus will be growing ever more noticeable in the west after sunset.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 64, down 21 from yesterday. The geomagnetic field remains Quiet but the Planetary K Index has risen above 1 for the first time in days. The K Index is currently standing at 3 and forecasters are expecting a further increase in geomagnetic activity soon because a stream of charged solar particles is heading towards Earth from a gaping coronal hole on the Sun.

A 6.9 earthquake struck Indonesia at 1337 UT today. This was the 5th earthquake greater than 6.0 magnitude in less than a week. Meanwhile, the area of Texas that experienced a 5.4 quake on the 16th is still being rocked by smaller tremblers. Over two dozen quakes in the 2.5 to 4.0 magnitude range have been centered within the 5 mile radius since Wednesday, and if we zoom out about 20 miles more the number jumps to 35.

Still no big surge of fireball sighting reports from the American Meteor Society, but the Leonid Meteor Shower may be peaking soon. 0600 UT on the 19th (or around 1:00 AM EST Saturday morning) is one of the time periods expected to produce an especially high period of activity. 1500 UT on Monday the 21st is the next predicted high point, but a Leonid meteor could be seen just about any time after local midnight.

If it’s too cloudy, cold, or snowy to look for meteors where you live, you might try listening for them on an FM radio. The ionized trails of falling meteors can reflect radio and television signals from stations that are normally too distant for you to receive. The trick is to tune an FM radio (preferably a good quality radio with an external antenna) to a frequency where no local station is coming in. Then, just sit back and listen to the static for a while. If a strange signal suddenly breaks through above the noise for a few seconds, chances are it came to you courtesy of a “falling star”.

And now let’s all take a moment of silence for Buffalo, New York…… That silence will emulate the sound of five feet of snow falling in and around western New York State over the next day or so. Five feet is a little over 152 centimeters for our metric listeners, and it’s a lot to get at one time — even by Buffalo standards.

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For Thursday, 17 November, 2022

This was the 321st day of the year with 44 days remaining.

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

According to the US Geological Survey a 5.4 earthquake struck west Texas yesterday at 2132 UT. Although 5.4 isn’t an extremely powerful quake it was unusual for the area. In fact, one internet source we came across claimed that it was the 3rd strongest earthquake in Texas history, and this appears to be true if you count it as a tie for third place with the 5.4 that occurred on July 30, 1925. The strongest known earthquake centered in Texas was a 6.0 in 1931, and there was a 5.7 in 1995. And curiously enough, while we were looking into the Texas earthquake story three new quakes have appeared on the USGS map; two in Alaska and one in Oklahoma. Another quake occurred in Colorado earlier today. These were all relatively minor, but there’s suddenly more seismic activity than we’ve seen recently in North America.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 85, up 16 from yesterday. The geomagnetic field remains Quiet and the Planetary K Index is still ranging around 1 and below. The Auroral Oval is still hovering over the regions near 60° latitude and above, but forecasters are still predicting an increase in geomagnetic activity with a stream of solar particles from an enormous coronal hole coming our way.

At least four new fireball events were reported to the American Meteor Society from last night, although the number of people reporting them continues to be much lower than we saw during the Taurids meteor shower. All of last night’s fireballs were evening events seen along the northern tier of the US and into Ontario.

We’ve been referring to the upcoming Leonid Meteor Shower this week and its peak – or one of them at least – is happening tonight. The Leonids are known for producing meteor storms about every 33 years. In 1833 a Leonid storm occurred over eastern North America and over 100,000 meteors per hour were widely observed. This was a truly historic event with widespread cultural, as well as scientific ramifications.

The comet responsible for the cosmic debris that produces the Leonid shower was discovered in December of 1865 by French Astronomer William Tempel, and then independently observed by the American Horace Tuttle in January of 1866, so the comet was named for them both and it is now officially designated as Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

After the comet’s orbit was calculated astronomers recognized it as the source of the recurring November meteor showers. Each time it comes around and intersects the path of Earth’s orbit the comet leaves a trail of cast off particles that linger and accumulate within discrete clusters of varying

density. Based on centuries of historical data pertaining to the Leonids astronomers are able to predict the times and likely intensity of the shower’s display for any given year.

Nothing comparable to the meteor storm of 1833 is expected this year, and unfortunately the light of the Moon will interfere during the times of optimum viewing, but when it comes to meteors, surprises do happen. The International Meteor Society has an extensive and very interesting article about viewing the Leonids on their website, and they list the following times as being especially likely to provide the most meteors:

2300 UT on the 17th (or about 6:00 PM EST) 0700 UT on the 18th (about 2:00 AM EST) 0600 UT on the 19th (around 1:00 AM EST – and this one is considered a “major” peak) 1500 UT on the 21st (around 10:00 AM EST)

Remember though, Leonid meteors are not restricted to just those time frames, and even though they appear to “radiate” outward from the constellation Leo, the meteor trails can be seen just about anywhere in the sky. Watchers are advised to find a location that lies within the shadow of the Moon to give your eyes the best possible adaptation to the lighting conditions, and to try looking eastward late at night and very early in the morning before the Moon rises. That will be around midnight to 1:00 AM local time for the next few nights, then later each night over the weekend.

The image below is a famous illustration of the 1833 Leonid Meteor storm. Adolf Vollmy’s 1889 engraving was based on a painting by Karl Jauslin that was in turn based on an eye witness account of the event by a minister who was traveling from Florida to New Orleans at the time.

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For Wednesday, 16 November, 2022

This was the 320th day of the year with 45 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Last Quarter Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Leo and the astro-Logical sign of Leo moving into Virgo.

Only two new fireball events for Tuesday night have been posted by the American Meteor Society and these were only reported by 5 or 6 people each. This despite the fact that the Leonid meteor shower is becoming more active as it approaches a peak around the weekend. Leonid meteors appear to radiate from the direction of the constellation Leo, which is currently high in the sky in the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately the Moon will also be in Leo during the best times for watching the Leonid meteors, so all but the very brightest ones will be washed out by the bright Lunar glow.

Would-be meteor watchers are advised to find a location that lies within the shadow of the Moon to give your eyes the best possible adaptation to the lighting conditions, and to try looking late at night before the Moon rises. That will be around midnight to 1:00 AM local time for the next few nights.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 69, down 8 from yesterday. The geomagnetic field remains Quiet and the Planetary K Index has barely nudged to 1. The Auroral Oval has retreated to the regions near 60° latitude but forecasters are predicting an increase in geomagnetic activity soon.

Artemis I’s flight to the Moon was delayed by about 43 minutes from the scheduled time, but the massive SLS rocket engines fired at 1:47 AM Eastern Time this morning and all went well for the historic launch. The Orion spacecraft is now on its way to the Moon and should return to Earth on December 11th.

We had hoped to perform our own historic scientific experiment during the Artemis I launch to see whether WRMI’s 100 thousand watt radio signal from the transmitter site at Lake Okeechobee would be affected by the 320 foot tall rocket when it blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center less than 100 miles away.

Anyone old enough to know about watching analog TV stations using a rooftop antenna may remember how the picture would often flutter and flicker when airplanes flew overhead. In fact, the same sort of interference still occurs due to signals being reflected by airplanes, satellites and even meteors, but in today’s digital age these effects aren’t usually as noticeable to the average TV viewer or radio listener.

On the other hand, short wave radio listeners are well aware of the variations in signal quality caused by solar and atmospheric conditions, etc. so they should be quick to recognize when something out of the ordinary is happening to the radio signal they’re listening to. WRMI’s station manager Jeff White was interested in testing to see whether the Moon rocket would impact his station’s signal and made a very special arrangement with UFO Joe to keep the 5.950 MHz transmitter operating during the time of the Artemis launch. Yourufoshow.com did a special broadcast from 1:00 AM to 1:30 AM ET asking listeners to report any unusual effects observed at the time of the launch, which was scheduled for 1:04 AM ET.

Apparently NASA engineers did not get the memo about our on-air science project and they delayed the launch until 17 minutes after the special broadcast ended and the transmitter was turned off. Maybe we’ll try again when Artemis II is launched in 2024, but if any listeners did notice any unusual effects to the signal from one of WRMI’s other frequencies that were still operating at 1:47 AM Eastern Time this morning (0647 UT) please let us know.

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For Tuesday, 15 November, 2022

This was the 319th day of the year with 46 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waning Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Cancer and the astro-Logical sign of Leo.

Only three new fireball events have been posted by the American Meteor Society from last night. Each event was only reported by about a dozen observers and they were all from the southeastern quadrant of the US. It certainly seems that something very unusual had been going on with fireballs in recent weeks, and whatever it was, it has faded away.

Tomorrow a Near Earth Object about the size of a van will pass by the Earth as close as .375 Lunar Distances away – that’s less than halfway between us and the Moon. The NEO is designated as 2018 WH and its closest approach will be around 1930 UT.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 77, up 3 from yesterday. There was an M1 solar flare at 0251 UT this morning, and it was followed by a series of lower level C class flares, but so far the geomagnetic field has remained Quiet. The planetary K index is still hovering around 1.

Our major space news story for today is the much anticipated launch of NASA’s Artemis I, the first big step in a mission to send humans back to the Moon. After months of delays from technical glitches and hurricane related roll backs, the unmanned test flight is set to go at 1:04 AM EST November 16th. That’s less than 5 hours from now. Of course, there are often last minute delays during the countdown period, and there is a two hour launch window built into the schedule, but if all goes well the spacecraft will be on its way to the Moon very early tomorrow morning.

To clarify some of the terms you might hear associated with this launch: Artemis is the name of the overall mission program, analogous to Mercury and Apollo, the Moon mission program names of the 1960’s and 70’s. Tomorrow’s un-crewed Artemis I launch will be followed by Artemis II, a more complex flight with a human crew. The spacecraft module that will actually be making the trip around the Moon and back is called Orion. The combination of liquid and solid fuel rocket stages that will be lifting Orion into space is referred to as the SLS, short for “Space Launch System.” There is also an “Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage” or ICPS that will deliver a turbo-charged “trans-lunar injection” to boost Orion out of Earth orbit and on its way to the Moon. Also included with this flight will be the release of 10 small satellites called CubeSats that will be deployed to (quote) “perform experiments and technology demonstrations” (unquote) according to NASA’s press release package.

The flight to the Moon and back will take about 25 and a half days and cover some 1.3 million miles. Return to Earth and splashdown should be on December 11th. The launch will be broadcast live on NASA TV and observers in Florida may even get to see the SLS and its exhaust plume from hundreds of miles away. We’ll post a graphic from NASA that illustrates when and where the launch could be visible to the eye along with tonight’s report on the Yourufoshow.com website.

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For Monday, 14 November, 2022

This was the 318th day of the year with 47 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waning Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Cancer and the astro-Logical sign of Leo.

It does seem that the recent run of widespread fireball sightings is winding down. Only about a dozen fireball events reported by at least 5 observers have been logged by the American Meteor Society since our broadcast on Friday. And of those 12 or so events, only two had more than 10 people reporting them: A little more than a dozen people in the New England area of the US reported a fireball seen at 8:15 PM EST Saturday night, and about the same number of people in the north west corner of the US saw one at 3:48 AM PST early Sunday morning.

There should still be a certain amount of meteor activity from several minor showers currently active, as well as the recent major showers that have passed their peak. Meanwhile, another major shower, the Leonids, is becoming more active with its peak predicted for Friday morning. We’ll have more to say about the Leonids as the week goes on, but unfortunately the light of the Moon will minimize good viewing opportunities for them this year.

Remember the house in California that received so much attention last week because people suspected a meteor had struck it and caused the fire that burned it down? Well, investigators are pouring cold water on the fireball theory, but they say the final report will come in about two weeks.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 74, down 5 from Friday. Last week’s M class solar flares did not repeat over the weekend, so the geomagnetic field has been Quiet for days. The Planetary K Index is currently hovering around 1.

The company responsible for the BlueWalker 3 satellite has confirmed that its 64 square meter antenna array is fully deployed now, and many observers have been seeing it reflecting the sun’s light over their skies in the early mornings and evenings. Reports so far indicate that it is not significantly brighter than the International Space Station or Tiangong, the Chinese space station, but astronomers are still worried what the effect will be when there are hundreds of even bigger BlueWalkers in orbit.

NASA is still go for the launch date of Wednesday November 16 for the Artemis 1 rocket’s unmanned mission around the moon and back. Previous launch attempts were scrubbed due to technical problems, and then the rocket had to be removed from the launch pad during Hurricane Ian. It was returned to the pad before Hurricane Nicole developed and engineers decided to leave it in place during that second storm. Nicole’s winds were higher than expected and some damages were sustained, but the rocket scientists say there was nothing that couldn’t be repaired in time for the launch on Wednesday.

There was another strong earthquake in the South Pacific on Saturday. The 7.0 quake at 0709 UT was in the same general area that experienced several powerful tremors last week. On Sunday there was a 6.2 quake near the cost of Chile in South America, and earlier today a 6.1 quake registered off the coast of Japan.

And finally, in the “no news is good news” department, the National Hurricane Center says that no Tropical Cyclone activity is expected for at least the next 48 hours.

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For Friday, 11 November, 2022

This was the 315th day of the year with just 50 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waning Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Gemini and the astro-Logical sign of Gemini moving into Cancer.

According to the Gregorian calendar, today was 11-11. This date was formerly known as Armistice Day, which commemorated the signing of the armistice agreement that heralded the end of the First World War. The Armistice was signed at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month. The date became known as Veterans Day in the US following the Korean War, while in Canada, Australia, the UK, and other countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, it is observed as Remembrance Day. Furthermore, an interesting spread of spiritual and mystical meanings have been associated with the number 11-11 in recent years, and many people say they have a strange tendency to look at clocks right when the time happens to be 11:11.

Last night Mars appeared to the left of the Moon. Tonight Mars will be above and to the right of the Moon. Mars is positioned between the long horns of Taurus the Bull, and the red planet will be moving ever closer towards the red giant star Aldeberan, which is the “eye” of the Bull, in the coming days and weeks. Another red giant, Betelgeuse, is located nearby in the shoulder of Orion, and the Pleiades star cluster is above and to the right (or west). These are some of the most familiar star patterns in the sky, and recent November evenings have provided great opportunities for learning about the Moon, stars, and planets, whether you are simply looking with your eyes or with binoculars and telescopes.

In yesterday’s report we wondered about the sudden drop in fireball sightings, but now it seems the American Meteor Society was simply not as prompt as they usually are in posting them. Today there were about a dozen new sightings logged, but that covers a two night period, so the overall numbers are still off from what they have been recently. The majority of the latest sighting reports are from Europe, with the most widely reported event being at 2103 UT Thursday night for about 56 observers in the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Belgium. Another four dozen people in Arizona, southwestern California, and northwestern Mexico, reported seeing a fireball at 0014 UT, or around 8:14 PM Thursday night their local time.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 79, down 2 from yesterday, however, there was another M class Solar Flare at 0714 UT this morning. Although this was a relatively low level M1 flare, any charged particles projected from it could be headed our way. The Planetary K Index is currently at 3 and is likely rise if there is more Solar activity over the weekend. Residents of the northern latitudes should be on the watch for possible Auroral activity.

There was a 7.3 earthquake in the Tonga region at 1048 UT today. This follows the series of strong earthquakes in the same region on Wednesday. We had mentioned how this geographical region, named the Kermadec-Tonga Subduction Zone, is the site of overlapping tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust, and that it has the largest number of underwater volcanos on the planet – but we failed to note that it is the very same area where the biggest ever recorded explosion of an underwater volcano had occurred back in January of this year. According to a news article from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory written on a follow-up study about that historic eruption: (Quote)

“When the Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on Jan. 15, it sent a tsunami racing around the world and set off a sonic boom that circled the globe twice. The underwater eruption in the South Pacific Ocean also blasted an enormous plume of water vapor into Earth’s stratosphere – enough to fill more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. The sheer amount of water vapor could be enough to temporarily affect Earth’s global average temperature.” (Unquote.)

That January event had global implications for the future, and many immediate problems for the Kingdom of Tonga, which is an archipelago that includes some 45 inhabited islands in the South Pacific. A Tsunami warning was issued following today’s 7.3 earthquake in the region, and while no significant waves resulted this time, we have to wonder if the recent earthquakes are a sign of things to come?

After leaving a path of flooded homes, washed out buildings, eroded beaches, and at least five deaths in Florida, Nicole is now a weakened Tropical Storm heading north. Heavy rain and gusty winds will impact the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountain chains through tonight, with the possibility of flash flooding along the way. The western parts of the Carolinas, western Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and western New York appear set to receive the bulk of the rainfall, with tornado watches and warnings also likely in the adjacent areas.

As a final note, we’ve just learned that Bluewalker 3, the internet providing satellite with the enormous antenna array, appears to have begun unfurling its 64 square meter antenna. If so, it may soon become an easily visible object in our morning and evening skies. Observers in southwestern California, southwest Nevada, the Baja Peninsula, and other parts of north western Mexico should be on the lookout around 4:56 AM PST Saturday morning, and 4:39 AM PST Sunday morning. Bluewalker will be passing almost directly overhead of those areas, moving from Northwest to Southeast on both mornings. If you spot it please tell us what you see.

The two images below illustrate the location of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai Islands and how their land mass has been changed by extreme volcanic activity in recent years.

Images courtesy NASA’s Earth Observatory from the article here:

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For Thursday, 10 November, 2022

This was the 314th day of the year with 51 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waning Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Taurus and the astro-Logical sign of Gemini.

The Moon will play leap frog with the planet Mars over the next two nights. Tonight the Moon will be slightly above and to the west (or right) of Mars. Then on Friday night Mars will be west (or right) of the Moon. Mars is rising shortly after 7:00 PM local standard time, so viewing should be good soon after that, depending on your eastern horizon and whether Nicole is bringing clouds to your area. The easily recognizable constellation Orion will also be hovering near the Moon on both nights. The red giant Betelgeuse is the bright star in Orion’s left shoulder, and Aldeberan, another red giant, will be over to the right in the eye of Taurus the Bull. With Mars in the scene there will be a trio of reddish objects fairly close together in the sky, and just how red each of these objects looks will give you a clue as to the clarity of the atmosphere above you, and/or how much light pollution you may have.

The recent run of widespread fireball sightings seems to have come to a halt with only 3 events logged by the American Meteor Society since yesterday’s report, and there were relatively few witnesses for those. Sometimes there’s a delay with the AMS postings since every observer’s report has to be reviewed for accuracy before it is officially logged, but for now we have to wonder where have all the fireballs gone – and where did they all come from over the past few weeks?

Incidentally, one of the regular listeners to our show, Mark in Ontario, was one of nine witnesses that reported a fireball event to the AMS on Tuesday night at 8:51 PM EST. And we’re still waiting to learn whether the California rancher’s house fire last Friday night was officially ruled as being due to a meteor strike. If anyone has inside information from the Nevada County, California fire investigation we’d like to hear about it.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 81, down 4 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet today, with no significant Solar flares since Tuesday. The Planetary K Index has essentially flat-lined, hovering between 0 and 1 all day.

Nicole made landfall as a Cat 1 Hurricane near Vero Beach, Florida early this morning, then quickly weakened back to Tropical Storm status. Nicole went on record as being the latest-in-the-season hurricane to make landfall in Florida. The center of the storm is currently over “The Big Bend” area of the Sunshine State with sustained winds around 45 MPH. While Nicole did not wreak the level of devastation associated with Ian, she did cause widespread damage to homes, hotels, streets and various structures in her path. Two people were killed when they somehow made contact with a downed power line in Conway, Florida.

Northern Florida and southern Georgia will continue to feel Tropical Storm impact tonight with coastal storm surge and localized flooding still expected. By Friday what remains of Nicole will head north, following the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountain chains with the possibility of flash flooding along the way. Heavy rain will progress through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and beyond into the weekend.

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For Wednesday, 9 November, 2022

This was the 313th day of the year with 52 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waning Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Taurus and the astro-Logical sign of Gemini.

The planet Uranus is at opposition today, meaning that it is positioned in a direct line with the Earth and Sun and at an optimum viewing position. We had mentioned that Uranus would be close to the Moon and might be seen during the total Lunar Eclipse on Tuesday morning, and although it isn’t as close to the Moon now, the bright Moonshine will still make it difficult to see the Solar System’s third largest planet tonight. Since the Moon will be rising progressively later each evening there should be some better Uranus viewing times soon. A good telescope will be required to see any color and detail though – look for a blue planet spinning on its side – that will be Uranus, the only planet in our Solar system that rotates perpendicular to its orbital plane.

Another dozen separate fireball events have been logged by the American Meteor Society since yesterday. This seems to be the new normal, and many people around the world are not only seeing the frequent fireballs, they are capturing videos of them with doorbell cameras, dash-cams, cell phones, etc. As a result, some amazing meteor images are being posted on the internet these days.

Over 100 people reported a fireball seen over the Netherlands, Ireland, Great Britain, France and Belgium at about 9:00 PM their time last night. Another 100 plus witnesses along the northeastern coast of North America from Virginia to New Brunswick, Canada and out as far as Toronto and Ontario, witnessed a fireball at about 7:30 PM EST. About two hours later another fireball was seen by over 100 people from Alabama to Michigan, and from Maryland to St. Louis, Missouri.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 85, up 5 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet today, with no significant Solar flares since yesterday’s M5. The current Planetary K Index is 0.

A series of the most powerful earthquakes we’ve seen for some time occurred this morning in a deep ocean area south of the Fiji Islands, north of New Zealand, and east of Australia. This area is near what is known as the “Kermadec-Tonga Subduction Zone” where two tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust have overlapped. The plates are continually moving across each other and produce frequent earthquakes. This zone is also said to have the longest chain of underwater volcanos on our planet. A 6.8 quake was recorded at 0938 UT this morning, followed by a 7.0 at 0951 UT, and a 6.6 at 1014 UT.

Nicole is now is classified a hurricane with over 70 MPH sustained winds, but the National Hurricane Center is warning Florida to be prepared for full on hurricane conditions as the big system tracks across the Sunshine State tonight. Large waves and dangerous storm surge are expected for the coastal areas, with heavy rain and high winds continuing farther inland. Southern Georgia will begin to experience the tropical effects of Nicole by midnight, and the storm will move across upper Georgia, South Carolina, and into the southwestern North Carolina mountains on Thursday. By Friday and Saturday it will be primarily a rain event impacting every state on the east cost of the US and parts of Canada.

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For Tuesday, 8 November, 2022

This was the 312th day of the year with 53 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Full Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Taurus and the astro-Logical sign of Taurus, moving into Gemini.

This morning’s total Lunar Eclipse occurred precisely on schedule and was witnessed by millions of people across the western hemisphere, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. We’ll have more to say about this event at the end of tonight’s report.

There was a bit of a delay with the American Meteor Society’s posting of new fireball sighting reports since Sunday night, and we wonder if it’s because they are being overwhelmed by the sheer number coming in. They’ve been posting about a dozen per day recently, and that seems about three or four times more than normal. Great Britain, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, as well as the US and Canada, have all experienced fireball events over the past two nights. The most widely reported sighting occurred at 5:58 EST this morning with over 70 witnesses scattered from Georgia into Michigan and Ontario, Canada, and from Washington, D.C. to Illinois and all parts in between, reporting a bright fireball that fell during the Lunar eclipse’s period of maximum totality.

Yesterday we mentioned that a cattle rancher’s house in northern California was thought to have been hit and destroyed in a fire from a meteorite that many people saw in that area on Friday night. The story has now been covered by just about every news outlet on the planet, but meteor experts are skeptical. Despite the fact that exceptionally bright meteors are called “fireballs,” they only look like balls of fire when they’re falling through Earth’s atmosphere. They’re actually known to be extremely cold if and when they hit the ground. Of course it’s possible the meteorite could have hit something else that exploded into flames and caused the house to burn down, but word from the official fire investigation team has not yet confirmed it.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 80, up 2 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet to Unsettled today. The current Planetary K Index is 2. The sunspot cluster that unleashed an M5 level flare yesterday is growing and rotating more directly towards Earth, so if it should flare again soon we could expect a greater impact to the geomagnetic field.

Nicole has been promoted from Sub-Tropical to Tropical Storm status, with maximum sustained winds around 65 MPH. That’s just 9 MPH shy of Category 1 Hurricane designation, and the storm is likely to intensify and deliver hurricane conditions to the Bahamas by Wednesday, and to southeastern and east-central Florida by Wednesday night. Heavy rainfall and flash flooding, along with dangerous storm surge and damaging waves are predicted for parts of Florida and coastal Georgia. Later in the week Nicole will move inland and bring up to 4” of rain to parts of the eastern US as far north as western New York State.

And now a few personal words about this morning’s Lunar Eclipse:

The skies have been covered by clouds and fog almost every night that we’ve had meteor showers, planetary alignments, and other recent sky-watching events here in Virginia, but early this morning the sky was remarkably clear for an almost perfect view of the eclipse from my bedroom window. I’m not an expert astro-photographer and you can easily find many pictures of the eclipse that show more and better detail than the ones below, but since I consider the State of the Earth Report to be a daily summary for people who, like me, aren’t experts but have an healthy appetite for such things, I’d like to share three of the pics I took with my 20 year old digital camera. No special lenses or filters were used, and unfortunately, no tripod either, but I think these pics give a pretty good representation of the eclipse from near its beginning to near totality when the Moon started descending below the trees.

If you have any comments or pictures to share about the lunar eclipse (or other phenomena you’ve seen in the sky) feel free to share them with us.

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For Monday, 7 November, 2022

This was the 311th day of the year with 54 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waxing Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Aries and the astro-Logical sign of Taurus.

The American Meteor Society received over 300 fireball sighting reports for over a dozen separate fireball events seen in Europe, Canada, and the US since last Friday night’s broadcast. The most widely reported event happened around 0227 UT with over 100 witnesses reporting from California, Nevada and Oregon – this sighting was at about 7:30 PM Friday evening for observers in the Pacific Daylight Time zone. In Europe, another 45+ observers reported a fireball seen over Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia at 2055 UT, or at about 10:00PM Saturday night their time. And soon after 10:30 PM EDT on Saturday night (or 0141 UT) over 30 people in the eastern US from North Carolina northward to Rochester and Buffalo, New York, and as far west as Fort Loramie, Ohio witnessed another bright fireball. It’s also worth mentioning that about 20 people in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico reported a fireball seen in the middle of the day on Sunday, just a little before noon in their Mountain Time zone, or 1847 UT.

And if seeing fireballs at noon isn’t strange enough, we learned today that a cattle rancher’s house in northern California may have been hit and destroyed by the meteorite that was so widely seen in that area on Friday night. We hope to have more details on this story soon.

Although the Southern Taurid meteor shower has recently peaked, it is still active, and now the Northern Taurid shower is advancing towards its peak around November 12. There are several other minor showers currently active as well, and one of the most significant showers of the year, the Leonids, is also beginning to build toward its peak around November 18th. Glare from the nearly Full Moon will tend to obscure all but the very brightest meteors, stars and planets in the overnight sky this week, unless you plan your viewing times around the Moon’s schedule, however.

And speaking of the Full Moon, the major astronomical event of the week will be a total eclipse of the Moon early Tuesday morning. About two weeks ago the New Moon passed between Earth and the Sun, and that conjunction produced a partial Solar eclipse. Europe had the best vantage point to see that one, but tomorrow the Earth will slide directly in between the Sun and the Moon when people in the Americas, Australia, and parts of Asia will have the best view.

Whereas a Solar eclipse lasts only a matter of minutes, the Lunar eclipse will span more than three hours from beginning to end, with the period of totality lasting almost an hour and a half. The western United States and Canada will experience the full duration of totality. Visibility of the event will be cut a little short for observers on the east coast of the US because the Sun will be rising a little before the eclipse is over, but east coasters will still get to see a good share of totality as long as they’re up before Sunrise and look west.

You may want to make a note of the following times pertaining to tomorrow’s eclipse. Convert the times given in Universal Time to your own local time zone and set your alarm clock accordingly. After all, there won’t be another Total Lunar eclipse until March 14, 2025:

The Earth’s shadow will begin to move over the Moon at 0909 UT. The Moon will be completely within Earth’s shadow (totally eclipsed) from 1016 UT until 1141 UT. The moment of maximum eclipse, when the center of Earth’s shadow will be directly over the center of the Moon is 1059 UT. The Moon will pass completely out of the Earth’s shadow at 1249 UT.

It is perfectly safe to view a Lunar Eclipse without any special eye protection, but binoculars or a telescope will give you an enhanced view. As an added bonus, the planet Uranus will be located about two Lunar diameters above the Moon, more or less in the 11 o’clock position, so during the total eclipse phase you may be able to spot this normally hard to find planet with binoculars or a small telescope. The Pleiades star cluster, the planet Mars, and the bright red star Aldeberan will all be in close proximity to the Moon and may become visible to the eye when the bright glow of the Full Moon is obscured.

As for the Sun, the current Boulder Sunspot Number is 78, up 13 from Friday. Shortly after midnight UT today, the Sun released an M5 level flare – the first M class flare we’ve seen for weeks. On Monday afternoon the Planetary K Index reached 5, indicating Minor Geomagnetic Storm conditions. Observers in the northern latitudes may get to see some Auroras along with the Lunar Eclipse.

Meanwhile, out in the Atlantic Ocean, a new Subtropical Storm named Nicole formed over the weekend. Maximum current winds are around 45 MPH, but forecasters say the storm could reach hurricane proportions by the time it reaches the Bahamas and Florida in the next few days. Regardless of her wind speed, however, Nicole will certainly bring heavy rain and the potential for coastal flooding and dangerous storm surge to the Bahamas tomorrow, and to the east coast of Florida by Wednesday. Southern parts of Georgia and South Carolina will likely receive the effects of Nicole later on Wednesday, and the system is expected to continue northward along the east coast through the end of the week.

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For Friday, 4 November, 2022  

This was the 308th day of the year with 57 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio.The Waxing Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Pisces and the astro-Logical sign of Aries. 

As of Friday morning Eastern Time, the American Meteor Society had already logged sightings for a dozen separate fireball events seen in Europe, Canada, and all across the US from yesterday. Not only is this number of events above the norm, but some of the fireballs were reported by an unusually high number of witnesses. For example:

About 30 reports came from southern New Jersey through New York into Maine and Montreal for a fireball seen around 6:07 AM EDT, and another morning fireball was reported by over 40 people from Pennsylvania to Vermont, Ontario and Quebec around 7:12 AM EDT. Then around 9:16 PM EDT last night, soon after yourufoshow ended, over 150 people along the northeastern coastal area from Virginia into Ottawa and New Brunswick, Canada witnessed another exceptionally bright meteor fall. Many other fireball events were reported by at least five observers from other parts of the US, as well as Great Britain, France, and Italy.

Tonight into early tomorrow morning will be the anticipated peak time of the annual Taurid meteor shower and a potential “swarm” of meteors. If the recent fireball reports are any indication, the next 24 hours could be very interesting for sky watchers around the world. The Waxing Gibbous Moon will prevent watchers from seeing all but the brightest stars and meteors until the Moon sets around 3:30 AM Local Daylight Time, but that bright “star” you may see standing directly above and close to the Moon earlier in the evening is actually the planet Jupiter. On Tuesday Saturn was similarly close to the Moon, and with the Moon rising later each evening it is now Jupiter’s turn for an apparent close approach tonight. This has certainly been a great week for studying the relative motions of the Moon, planets and constellations.

On Friday morning the Boulder Sunspot Number was 65, up 16 from yesterday. Yesterday’s Geomagnetic Storm conditions did yield some bright Auroras in the far northern latitudes. The Planetary K Index has settled back down around 3 so far today, but solar weather forecasters are predicting heightened Geomagnetic activity later today or tomorrow. 

Former Hurricane Lisa, is now just a system of rain with winds around 30 MPH, but localized flooding is still possible along the southeastern coast of Mexico. Yesterday Hurricane Martin gained some noteworthiness as going the farthest north of any November hurricane on record, but now it has already dropped off the National Hurricane Center’s tracking list.

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For Thursday, 3 November, 2022  

This was the 307th day of the year with 58 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio.The Waxing Gibbous Moon was in the astro-Nomical constellation Aquarius and the astro-Logical sign of Pisces. 

There were more pre-midnight fireball sightings from Europe and the US on the night of November 2nd. The most widely reported events were for one over France at 1815 UT, another fireball was seen at 7:04 PM EDT from Maryland and Pennsylvania to New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and a third from Alabama and Mississippi across to Indiana and Illinois at 1009 EDT. The American Meteor Society also logged several other fireball events reported by at least 5 observers last night. We should point out that the AMS defines a “fireball” meteor to be one that shines brighter than the planet Venus, which is significantly brighter than the typical meteors more commonly seen.

All week we’ve been announcing the annual peak of the Taurid meteor shower would be coming up on the night of November 4th to 5th, but today we’ve come across information that some authorities consider this shower’s peak is actually in late October. But while there may be some debate among experts about the absolute peak date of the Taurids, or the “Southern Taurids” to be more precise, it is universally accepted that this is a complex meteor shower with several components that overlap over a period of weeks. There is even speculation that the famous Tunguska meteor event of 1908 may have been due to the same comet that gives rise to the Taurids every year. In any case, the historical data does suggest that the coming nights will bring an unusually high number of visible meteors, and your best chances of seeing them will be in the wee hours of the morning after the Moon has set during the next few nights.

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 49, down 14 from yesterday. Despite the scarcity of sunspots or solar flares, Geomagnetic conditions have gone from Unsettled to Minor Storm levels today with the Planetary K Index currently at 5. Observers in far northern latitudes should be alert for Auroras.

Belize took a direct hit from Hurricane Lisa, and the neighboring coastal areas of Central America and Mexico also felt Lisa’s effects, but the storm quickly degraded back to Tropical Depression status. Lisa is now heading back into the Gulf of Mexico, but forecasters are not expecting her to restrengthen at this time…and residents of the Gulf States hope they’re right!

Meanwhile, out in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, Martin is barely hanging onto hurricane status with sustained winds around 75 MPH, but it is also expected to weaken by tomorrow. The system will still hang together and begin to move eastward towards the coast of Ireland by the weekend.

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For Wednesday, 2 November, 2022  

This was the 306th day of the year with 59 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio.The Waxing Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Aquarius and the astro-Logical sign of Pisces. 

There were numerous pre-midnight fireball sightings from Europe, the US and Canada on the night of November 1st. The two most widely reported events were for one over the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany at about 7:00PM their local time, the other came at about 8:16 PM EDT for a fireball seen across the northeastern portion of the US and into Ontario and Quebec, Canada. The American Meteor Society also logged several other fireball events reported by at least 5 observers last night.

We’re getting closer to the annual peak of the Taurid meteor shower on November 4th to 5th, and media buzz predicting a “swarm” is growing. There definitely seems to have been an uptick in fireball sightings recently, so if that’s any indication of things to come when the Taurids reach their peak, sky watchers should be in for a good show as the week goes on. The Moon will be setting around 1:00 AM Local Daylight Time on the early morning of November 3rd, and progressively later each of the following mornings, so the wee hours after midnight will provide the darkest skywatching opportunities.

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 63, up 7 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Unsettled today with the Planetary K Index ranging around 4. A stream of solar wind is expected to reach Earth by November 5th and this could produce geomagnetic storm levels that may bring auroral activity farther south than has been seen in recent nights.

Tropical Storm turned Hurricane Lisa now has sustained winds of 80 MPH and is bringing heavy rain, strong winds, and life-threatening storm surge to Belize and the coastal areas of Guatemala and the Yucatan Peninsula. Lisa is expected to churn northward along the Mexican coastline through Friday. The storm will weaken by the time it turns back into the Gulf of Mexico, but what happens after that is subject to question.

Martin has also attained hurricane status with sustained winds of 85 MPH and it is developing into a very large system in the mid-Atlantic. Trans-oceanic shipping lanes will be vulnerable to Martin’s effects.

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For Tuesday, 1 November, 2022

This was the 305th day of the year with just 60 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The First Quarter Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Capricorn and the astro-Logical sign of Aquarius.

The Moon reached its First Quarter phase early today, which means that exactly half of the side facing Earth was illuminated by the Sun. Slightly more than half will be illuminated by evening and the planet Saturn will appear almost directly above and very close to the Moon. The pair should be visible from after sunset until around midnight, standing high in the southern sky about 8:00 PM Local Daylight Time. The Moon and Saturn will be in the constellation Capricornos, between Sagittarius to the right and Aquarius to the left. Jupiter will be shining brightly in Pisces, a few hours farther east. This should be another good night for binoculars and backyard telescopes.

The continuing series of early evening meteor sightings seems to have favored Europe on Halloween night. At 16:52 UT a fireball was seen by dozens of people in Italy, Germany and Austria, and two hours later another bright meteor was seen over the Netherlands. Note that these sightings happened around 6:00 and 8:00 PM respectively in the local time zones, according to reports logged by the American Meteor Society. An early morning fireball was reported from British Columbia in western Canada.

And remember, the Taurid meteor shower is nearing its annual peak on November 4th to 5th with some experts predicting a meteor “swarm” this year. The Taurids are already active and several other minor meteor showers are underway as well, so there could be several bright displays per hour for observers with clear dark skies.

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 56, down 12 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been mostly Quiet with the Planetary K Index falling to 1 after a brief peak near 4 earlier this morning. There was a Coronal Mass Ejection on the far side of the Sun late last night, and while it won’t affect us for now, the active region that produced this CME will be rotating towards Earth in about a week.

Tropical Storm Lisa now has sustained winds of 65 MPH, just 9 MPH below hurricane status. The storm is expected to strengthen and will probably bring hurricane force winds to Belize, the Yucatan Peninsula, Honduras and Guatemala by Wednesday. Strong winds, localized flooding and dangerous storm surge along the coastal areas are likely.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Martin has developed in the mid-Atlantic Ocean and it is also expected to develop hurricane force winds as the week progresses. Fortunately Martin’s track is away from land but the storm is of definite concern to shipping interests in the Atlantic.

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For Monday, 31 October, 2022

This was the 304th spooky day of the year with 61 spooky days remaining.

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

Tomorrow the Moon will be at its First Quarter phase and the planet Saturn will appear almost directly above it. The pair will be visible from about 6:30 PM Local Daylight Time on November 1st until midnight, standing high in the southern sky around 8:00 PM. The past few months have provided some unusually good viewing times for the outer planets, and that trend continues with Saturn and the Moon being joined by Jupiter and Mars in the overnight sky all week. The latter two planets will be trailing a few hours behind, so they will appear farther to the east. This is a great time for viewing with a telescope, binoculars, or just using your eyes to study the sky.

It was a busy weekend for meteors with 74 people from Kentucky northward into Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota reporting a fireball event that occurred about an hour after Friday night’s Yourufoshow broadcast ended. About four hours later, over 100 people in California and Nevada witnessed another exceptionally bright meteor fall. On Saturday night about 20 people in the south eastern states from Alabama to Virginia reported another one. The American Meteor Society logged these, along with numerous other sightings having at least five reports from around the world over the past three nights.

As we mentioned last week, the Taurid meteor shower is nearing its annual peak on November 4th to 5th, and some experts are predicting a “swarm” of activity this year. The shower is already active so Halloween and the early November nights could bring some special treats for sky watchers. Several other minor meteor showers are also active during this time, so these along with the usual influx of sporadic meteors, should provide a few bright displays per hour for observers with clear dark skies.

And remember, it was during this same meteor season 84 years ago, on the night of October 30, 1938, that the sleepy little town of Grovers Mill, New Jersey was invaded by Martians on Orson Welles’ famous radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”.

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 68, down 4 from Friday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet with the Planetary K index ranging around 3 today. On Saturday the K index reached 5 for a few hours, indicating minor geomagnetic storm conditions. No extreme solar activity is expected soon, but surprises do happen.

Near earth Object NEO 2022 UA21 passed by the Earth shortly after midnight UT this morning. It was estimated to be about 4 to 9 meters in diameter and came within 1.18 Lunar Distances to us, or just slightly farther than the average distance between us and the Moon. This object was first detected on Sunday, so it is one of the newest in a growing list of the so-called “Apollo Objects” that are known to have the potential for intersecting Earth’s orbit at some point in the future.

The low pressure area in the Caribbean Sea we mentioned last Friday has now been designated as Tropical Storm Lisa. Lisa currently has sustained winds around 45 MPH and will pass near Jamaica today before heading westward towards Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras by Wednesday.

Five weeks ago today the planet Jupiter was at the closest point it had come to our planet in almost 60 years. If you read our “Special Report” about the possibility of Jupiter’s close approach triggering earthquakes and solar flares you may remember that our analysis of the data from 1963 indicated that any increased seismic or solar activity would probably occur a few weeks before and a few weeks after the giant planet made its pass, rather than on the actual day of closest approach. So did our prediction come true? Stay tuned for the update coming soon…

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For Friday, 28 October, 2022

This was the 301st day of the year with 64 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waxing Crescent Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Scorpio and the astro-Logical sign of Saggitarius. Look for the crescent Moon above your western horizon tonight shortly before or after sunset.

Once again, the early evening time period has yielded the most widely reported fireball events. Last night about 70 people from Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands reported seeing a bright meteor at 1848 UT, or 8:48 PM their local time. In the southern US about 2 dozen reports came from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee for a fireball seen around 9:30 PM Central Daylight Time, and just ten minutes later another fireball was reported by observers across the northeastern US and Ontario (at about 8:40 EDT). The American Meteor Society also logged several other early evening fireball events from Europe, the US and Canada for bright meteors seen by at least five observers in the early to mid-evening hours last night.

This is speculation on our part, but it is possible that at least some of last night’s fireball sightings were related to the upcoming Taurid meteor shower that we mentioned on last night’s broadcast. Experts have been suggesting that a Taurid meteor “swarm” is possible with this shower in 2022, meaning that perhaps twice the usual number of Taurid meteors could appear. This shower peaks around November 5th but it is already active so sky watchers should be on the lookout for “falling stars” around Halloween – or anytime between nighttime and sunrise for the next week or so. And let us know if you catch one!

The Boulder Sunspot Number is 72, down 6 from yesterday. Despite the lack of active sunspots or solar flares the geomagnetic field has been Unsettled today due to an ongoing stream of charged particles coming from coronal holes in the sun’s exterior. The current Planetary K Index is about 4.5, approaching minor storm conditions. Residents of the far northern latitudes should be alert for Auroral activity during the next few nights.

A low pressure area in the Caribbean Sea off the northern coastline of Venezuela may develop into a Tropical Depression over the weekend. Heavy rainfall and gusty winds are predicted for the Virgin Islands, the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico. Conditions appear favorable for further development as the system moves west or northwestward next week.

On Thursday NASA reported an interesting discovery from Mars: On Christmas Eve 2021 seismic instruments on Mars registered an unusually strong quake – a Mars quake that is. The cause of the quake was suspected to be a large meteorite crashing into the planet and recent photographs from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed the likely strike zone. It is a 500 foot wide crater near Mars’ equator, said to be about 10 times the size of typical impact craters on Mars. But the most

interesting thing is that the meteorite’s impact blasted large boulders of buried frozen water ice to the planet’s surface. This discovery bodes well for human exploration of Mars in the future.

The image below shows the new Martian Crater, nearly 500 feet (or 150 meters) across. The whitish deposits scattered around the crater are huge slabs of water ice that had been hiding below the planet’s surface. Photo courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

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For Thursday, 27 October, 2022

This was the 300th day of the year with 65 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waxing Crescent Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Scorpio and the astro-Logical sign of Saggitarius. You might see a thin sliver of the Moon above the western horizon tonight and tomorrow evening when la Luna will be setting soon after the Sun goes down.

Early to mid-evenings seems to be the best time for observing meteor fireballs lately. At 6:34 PM EDT last night, more than 40 people across the northeastern corner of the US, from Pennsylvania into Vermont and New Hampshire, witnessed a bright fireball and reported their sighting to the American Meteor Society. An early morning fireball event was observed around 6:41 AM today by more than two dozen people in Michigan, Illinois and Ontario. (The observer in Canada was located very close to Harrietsville, by the way.)

The hours between midnight and dawn are generally the most active period for spotting meteor trails, and while the recent Orionid shower seems to have been rather disappointing, late night and early morning sky watchers might have better luck with the upcoming Taurid meteor shower. The Taurids are actually less numerous than the Orionids in most years, but experts suspect that this year could be different. They are forecasting a possible “swarm” that occurs every few years and produces about twice the usual number of meteors that appear to emanate from near the constellation Taurus. This shower peaks around November 5th, but it is active before and after that peak, and the moonless nights of the coming week could provide more favorable viewing conditions.

Otherwise, since the Earth seems to be taking a vacation from any major earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, asteroids, or eclipses today, we’d like to take a moment to mention something that happened a few weeks ago:

On October 9, 2022, scientists from around the world detected a Gamma Ray Burst that has been dubbed “The BOAT”, for “Brightest of All Time”. Gamma Ray Bursts are said to be the strongest explosions in the universe. They only last a matter of seconds but release as much energy in that brief time as our Sun will produce in 10 billion years. Theories about their origin involve supernova, black holes, and colliding neutron stars. The GRB detected on October 9th lasted hundreds of seconds and is thought to have been produced by a supernova some 2 billion light years away from Earth – which is fortunate for us, because if it had come from something really close to this planet you wouldn’t be listening to Yourufoshow right now!

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For Wednesday, 26 October, 2022

This was the 299th day of the year with 66 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Waxing Crescent Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. You might be able to see an extremely thin sliver of the Moon just above the western horizon tonight or tomorrow night when the Moon will be setting very soon after the Sun.

Saturn is rising around 3:30 in the afternoon, Jupiter around 5:00 PM, and Mars around 9:00 PM Local Daylight Time, so all three of these planets will be visible in the late night sky. Saturn will be setting down and out of sight around 1:00 AM, Jupiter sets around 5:00 AM, and Mars will be visible until Sunrise.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 72, up 26 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet today with the Planetary K index hovering around 1. No major Solar activity is expected for the next few days, but that is always subject to change.

No widespread fireball sightings were reported last night, but the bright meteorite that was seen Monday evening across Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah was photographed by a number of observers and some interesting videos have been posted to the web.

No significant earthquakes have occurred today as of noon EDT today, and all is quiet as far as hurricane activity for the time being. No known Near Earth Objects are coming any closer than 2.2 Lunar Distances until Halloween.

The Bluewalker 3 satellite will be making a prominent pass over the US and Canada tomorrow morning from about 5:30 – 5:40 AM EDT. This visible pass will begin over parts of Louisiana and Alabama then move northeastward over the Great Lakes region and across the northeastern corner of the US and into Canada. Bluewalker is the satellite with the controversial 64 square foot antenna array, the first in a network of over a hundred even bigger satellites intended to provide broadband service from space directly to ordinary cell phones. These “Bluebirds” are expected to be extremely bright during their visible passes, but so far we have not heard any reports confirming this. The antenna array may not be fully deployed as of yet, although the company responsible for Bluewalker3, AST SpaceMobile, had announced that it would be by the end of October. If you live in tomorrow morning’s pass area please look up around 5:30 AM, and let us know what you see.

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For Tuesday, 25 October, 2022

This was the 298th day of the year with 67 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio. The Moon reached its New Phase this morning at 1049 UT. It is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio.

As mentioned in yesterday’s broadcast, this morning’s New Moon produced a partial eclipse of the Sun for observers across most of Europe, parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Greenland this morning. We’d like to hear from any of our listeners who may have been able to view this eclipse from their location.

Residents of Australia and Indonesia should mark their calendars for April 20, 2023 when the next solar eclipse will be visible in those areas. Then on October 14, 2023 an Annular eclipse will be seen in parts of the western US, Central America and parts of South America. The next total eclipse of the sun will occur on April 8, 2024 across Mexico and parts of the US. We’ll have more details on these events as their dates approach.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 46, down 19 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions were Quiet today with the Planetary K index hovering around 1. Another round of charged particles billowing from a coronal hole in the Sun may impact the Earth’s ionosphere later this week, possibly leading to more Unsettled geomagnetic conditions. A large sunspot currently on the far side of the sun will be rotating to face the Earth by next week, and it is considered capable of producing significant flares.

The American Meteor Society has logged a fireball event that was reported by about 125 people in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah yesterday in the early evening, their local time. This appears to be the most widely reported fireball sighting in nearly two weeks.

Near Earth Object 2022 UV2 will pass within 1.5 Lunar Distances of the Earth tomorrow at about 1026 UT. Approximately 10 meters in diameter, or about the size of an RV, it is the latest in the pool of some 30,000 known asteroids that have decided to pay us a close call recently.

Two earthquakes greater than 6.0 have occurred within the past 24 hours: A 6.3 quake today at 0013 UT hit the South Sandwich Islands (between the tip of South America and Antarctica) and a 6.4 struck at 1459 UT in the Philippines. A 5.1 earthquake shook California earlier this morning, and a minor 2.6 quake was also registered not far from our home location in Virginia, an area that is not prone to frequent quakes.

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For Monday, 24 October, 2022

This was the 297th day of the year with 68 days remaining.

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

If you were up about an hour before dawn this morning you might have noticed a very thin crescent moon rising low in the east and hovering directly above a small bright star. Well, that ‘star’ was actually the planet Mercury. Mercury has been visible before sunrise for the past several weeks but it is moving closer towards the Sun from our perspective on Earth, and will soon be hidden by the daylight’s glare once again.

On Tuesday the 25th the Moon will reach its New Phase, which means that it will be positioned directly between the Earth and the Sun. The Moon is virtually invisible during this phase since it isn’t reflecting any sunlight towards us, but you might be able to see the Moon again soon after it passes from New to Waxing Gibbous phase because of sunlight being reflected by the Earth to the Moon and then back down at us again. This phenomenon is called ‘Earthshine’.

When the alignment of the Earth, Moon and Sun during a New Moon is just right, there will be a solar eclipse viewable from the area where the Moon’s shadow happens to land. Tomorrow the ‘sweet spot’ of the New Moon’s shadow will be cast somewhere out beyond the North Pole, so there won’t be a Total Eclipse for anyone on Earth to see, but there will be a partial eclipse viewable to observers across most of Europe, parts of Northern Africa, the Middle East, western Asia, and along the eastern coast of Greenland. The timing of the eclipse, and just how much of the Sun will be obscured by the Moon depends on the exact location, but the area that will witness the maximum amount of solar blockage – over 80% — will be in eastern Russia at around 1100 UT.

The American Meteor Society has logged a fireball event that was reported by nearly 70 people in England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands last night at 1932 UT. Another fireball event was reported late Friday night (or around 0130 Saturday morning UT) by about two dozen observers in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. The timing of these fireballs suggests that they were probably not remnants from the Orionid meteor shower, and we would still like to hear from any listeners that might have seen any Orionids last week.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 65, up 32 from Friday. Although there have not been any significant solar flares in the past few days, a stream of solar wind particles still blew into our ionosphere and created minor geomagnetic storm conditions for most of the day on Saturday. Geomagnetic conditions were still Unsettled on Sunday, but today the Planetary K index has dropped below 1.

Tropical Storm Roslyn intensified into a category 4 hurricane before making landfall in Mexico as a category 3 storm with winds around 120 MPH. Although the area most affected by the rain and wind was sparsely populated, at least two deaths have been attributed to Roslyn’s impact.

Roslyn has dissipated now, but a new system in the Atlantic is likely to develop into a tropical storm overnight, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to Bermuda. Further expansion of that storm is not expected, but forecasters are warning about another potentially more threatening system developing near Puerto Rico over the course of the coming week.

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For Friday, 21 October, 2022

This was the 294th day of the year with 71 days remaining.

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

(We must add a correction notice here: It seems we reported incorrect astro-logical signs for the Moon for the past 3 days. The correct Moon signs were: Tuesday=Cancer, Wednesday and Thursday = Leo. Our thanks to UFO Joe’s Little ET Buddy for spotting this mistake, and we apologize for any inconvenience.)

As of early Friday morning, about six hours before the predicted peak of the Orionid meteor shower, it seems the much anticipated meteor shower has been rather disappointing. We personally did not see any meteors during several good viewing opportunities between midnight and dawn, and we have yet to see any reports or photos from other sky watchers. The American Meteor Society has not reported any widespread fireball sightings that would likely be attributed to the Orionid meteors either. Has this shower stopped running – or will the peak hours occur later than predicted? Perhaps the best time to watch will be after midnight tonight? We would be happy to hear about any meteors seen (or not seen) by our listeners.

On the other hand, the early morning hours between midnight and 6:00 AM did provide some excellent views of the constellations Orion, Taurus, Gemini and the Pleiades star cluster. Jupiter looked like a big ball of golden light even without binoculars or a telescope. Saturn and Mars were also on full display, as well as the crescent Moon hovering low in the east, so if you’re up late over the weekend and the sky is clear be sure to enjoy the view – with or without meteors.

Sunspots are almost as scarce as meteors today. The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 33, down 17 from yesterday. This is the lowest Sunspot Number we’ve seen in quite a while. Two weeks ago the official count was over 150. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet, with the Planetary K index ranging around 1. Despite the lack of any major solar flares, however, a large coronal hole in the Sun’s southern hemisphere has started dumping huge amounts of solar plasma in our direction, so geomagnetic activity may increase by early next week.

There is an interesting follow up to the story about Lucy, the spacecraft that did a “slingshot maneuver” around Earth last Sunday on its way to explore Jupiter’s “Trojan Asteroids”. Astronomers detected what they first thought was another asteroid coming towards Earth slightly ahead of Lucy, but further analysis showed it was actually the booster rocket that had launched Lucy into space on the same date a year ago. The two had been traveling together all this time, but Sunday’s pass by Earth gave each object a different gravitational twist and they went their separate ways.

The International Space Station will be making two especially bright passes over the Great Lakes region and nearby states, as well as Harrietsville, Ontario, Canada on Saturday and Sunday morning.

The Saturday pass will begin at about 7:00 AM, the Sunday pass shortly after 6:15 AM EDT. The ISS will be seen moving from the south-west to the north-east on both passes.

Tropical Storm Roslyn has intensified today with sustained winds now around 70 MPH, getting close to Hurricane Status. The storm is forecast to become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall in west central Mexico late on Saturday. Strong winds, heavy rain, dangerous storm surge and landslides are possible with Roslyn. This system looks likely to move further inland than the recent storms that took similar paths, although it will weaken once it moves over land.

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For Thursday, 20 October, 2022

This was the 293rd day of the year with 72 days remaining.

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

Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are all still visible in the overnight hours. Saturn is rising above the horizon in midafternoon and setting a few hours after midnight Local Daylight Time. Mars will be rising around 9:30PM, and Jupiter about 4 hours earlier, so the best time for viewing all three planets in the sky at once is between about 11:00 PM and 1:00 AM LDT. During that time Jupiter will be shining very high and bright in the southern sky, roughly midway between red Mars to the east and yellowish Saturn to the west.

Mercury is rising around 6:30 AM now. It is moving closer towards the Sun and will soon be hidden by daylight in the mornings. Meanwhile, Venus will be positioned directly behind the Sun on October 22nd, making what is called its “superior solar conjunction”. Venus will gradually emerge from behind the Sun’s glare and we should be able to see it again by the end of the year.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 50, the same as yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet, although the Planetary K index has been slightly higher than yesterday, ranging from about 1 to 3. But once again, any Auroral activity will be limited to the extreme northern latitudes.

The Orionid meteor shower is predicted to peak around 1800 UT on Friday October 21st. Note that this will be during the daytime for those of us in North America, so parts of Europe may be favored to catch the most active period of the display. But the peak time prediction is just an estimate, and there should be plenty of meteors in the hours before and after the peak. Observers with clear dark skies could see 10-15 meteors per hour. Orionid meteors can appear almost anywhere in the sky, but their trails can always be traced back towards the constellation Orion, which will be prominent in the southern sky between midnight and dawn.

And remember, the tiny particles of space dust blazing through Earth’s atmosphere in the Orionid Meteor shower were left behind by Halley’s Comet. Halley’s Comet is the only comet that comes within naked-eye view of the Earth twice within the span of a human lifetime, and humans have reported seeing it since ancient times. British astronomer Edmund Halley did not ‘discover’ the comet named after him, but he made the first ever calculation of a comet’s periodicity which proved that many historical comet sightings were actually related to the same comet passing through our Solar System repeatedly. It comes within view of the Earth about every 76 years, but right now Halley’s Comet is nearly as far away from our planet as it ever gets, out near the orbit of Pluto. So even though the comet itself isn’t visible, we can see bits and pieces of it in the sky during the next few nights.

Also on October 21st, two Near Earth Objects will be coming within less than 2 Lunar Distances from the Earth. NEO 2022 UG2 will come within 1.6 LD at 0932 UT, and NEO 2022 UC1 comes even closer at

1.4LD around 2246 UT tomorrow. Each of these objects is estimated to be somewhere in the range of about 20 meters in diameter. So they’re much bigger than the dust particles from Halley’s Comet, but fortunately these house-sized NEO’s are not expected to fall into our atmosphere.

The Tropical Disturbance off the southwestern coast of Mexico that we’ve been watching for the past several days has been given a name: Roslynn. Roslyn currently has sustained winds around 45 MPH but the storm is expected to reach hurricane status (which means a minimum wind speed of 74 MPH) within the next few days. Roslyn will likely bring high winds, heavy rain, flash flooding, mudslides and storm surge to the same region of Mexico that has been plagued with tropical storms and strong earthquakes for the past month.

And speaking of strong earthquakes, Central America experienced its third quake greater than 6.0 in less than a week with a 6.7 occurring in Panama today at 0757 UT.

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For Wednesday, 19 October, 2022

This was the 292nd day of the year with 73 days remaining.

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

The Moon will be rising after 1:00 AM Local Daylight Time. The bright star that will appear very close to the moon early Thursday morning is Regulas, the brightest star in the constellation Leo. Although Regulas looks like a single star to our eyes, it is actually a system of at least 4 separate stars swirling together at a distance of about 79 light years from Earth.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 50, down 34 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet with no significant solar flares since very early Saturday morning. The Planetary K index has ranged from around 1 to near 0 today, so any auroral activity will be limited to the most extreme northern latitudes.

The Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak around 1800 UT on Friday October 21st, but you might be able to see some activity from this shower already. The dust particles that produce the Orionid meteor display are actually remnants from Halley’s Comet that have become gravitationally locked in the region of space that Earth’s orbit crosses through at this time every year. Look toward the southern sky between midnight and dawn for your best chance to see some bright meteor trails.

Coincidentally, today happens to be the fifth anniversary of the discovery of a mysterious space object called ‘Oumuamua. ‘Oumuamua was discovered using the Pan-STARRS telescope at Haleakalā Observatory, Hawaii, on 19 October 2017. It was the first interstellar object ever detected passing through our solar system, and the Hawaiian name it was given is loosely translated as “scout” or “first distant messenger”. The small odd-shaped object sparked a great deal of interest and speculation among professional astronomers, and there are still many unanswered questions about it. Even the controversial theory that it was a probe sent from some distant alien world has not been entirely ruled out.

The International Space Station will be making a particularly bright pass over the southwestern US shortly after 6:35 AM MDT tomorrow morning. It should be viewable moving from southwest to the northeast over parts of southern California, Arizona (including Snowflake) and Colorado. Early morning observers should watch for a very bright object moving steadily in a continuous arc across the sky with no blinking lights.

The disturbance off the southwestern coast of Mexico in the eastern Pacific shows signs of strengthening, and forecasters expect it to develop into a Tropical Depression within the next 24 hours. The system has been moving north-westward, roughly parallel to the coastline of Mexico.

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For Tuesday, 18 October, 2022

This was the 291st day of the year with 74 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Last Quarter Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Cancer and the astro-Logical sign of Libra.

The Waning Crescent Moon was at its Last Quarter phase yesterday and will be rising after midnight Local Daylight Time. Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are still visible in the evening sky this week. The hours between 11:00PM and 1:00 AM Local Daylight Time will be best for seeing all three planets spanning the sky from east to west. Mercury can be seen in the last hour or so before sunrise, but it will soon be obscured by the sun and not be seen again for several months.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 84, up 25 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet with no significant solar flares since very early Saturday morning. The Planetary K index has hovered around 1 today, so only those in extreme northern latitudes should expect to see any Auroral activity tonight.

The American Meteor Society received numerous reports of multiple fireball sightings from around the world on Monday night. The most widely seen event seems to have come at 0209 UT. This meteorite was reported by over 40 witnesses in California and Nevada.

The epsilon-Geminid meteor shower peaked earlier today, but a few stragglers from this cluster of meteoric debris might still be seen streaking through Earth’s atmosphere after midnight tonight. Meanwhile, the Orionid shower is gradually building towards its peak on the 21st. These two active showers, along with some occasional sporadic meteors, should produce a few bright meteor trails each hour for observers in clear dark skies.

The Chinese space station Tiangong will be making a particularly bright pass over the western US shortly after 8:00 PM MDT tonight. It will be viewable moving from west-northwest to the southeast above parts of California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. China will soon be launching additional modules for Tiangong that will render it even brighter during its visible passes.

A new disturbance off the west coast of Mexico in the eastern Pacific bears watching in the upcoming week. National Hurricane Center forecasters are predicting a 90% chance of formation within the next 5 days. Its future path may steer it clear from any populated areas, but its too early to be sure.

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For Monday, 17 October, 2022

This was the 290th day of the year with 75 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Last Quarter Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Gemini and the astro-Logical sign of Cancer, moving into Libra.

The Moon was at its Last Quarter phase today and will be rising after 10:00 PM Local Daylight Time. Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will continue their joint appearance in the evening sky this week. The hours between 11:00PM and 1:00 AM Local Daylight Time will be best for seeing all three planets spanning the sky from east to west, just as the Moon is beginning to rise. Mercury is still visible in the last hour or so before sunrise, but it will soon be hidden by the sun again.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 59, up 2 from Friday. Geomagnetic conditions have been mostly Quiet over the weekend, but just after midnight UT on Saturday (which was just after this broadcast ended on Friday night EDT) the Planetary K index spiked to 5 and a brief period of geomagnetic storm conditions ensued.

The American Meteor Society ultimately logged over 275 reports for the exploding meteorite seen across western Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia on Wednesday night last week. Now another 43 reports have been received of a fireball that was seen in the same general area this past Saturday night, around 8:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time.

The epsilon-Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak on October 18th. The best time for viewing these meteors is after midnight and just before dawn local time. Epsilon-Geminid meteors will appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini low in the southeastern sky after midnight, and higher in the south by early morning hours. Although this one is not a major meteor shower, you might also see some early arrivals from the upcoming Orionid shower, as well as some occasional sporadic meteors, so it should be worth keeping an eye open late Monday and Tuesday nights.

Spacecraft Lucy made its first slingshot loop around the Earth successfully on Sunday, and is now zooming out towards Mars before getting its next gravitational boost from a near Earth pass in 2024, and then going on to fulfill its historic mission to survey Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids.

So far, Jupiter’s close approach to our planet on September 26th does not seem to have produced any unusual seismic activity. Earthquake activity did seem to ramp up in the few weeks before the close approach, but if anything, overall activity has gone into a lull since the end of September. Two fairly strong earthquakes off the west coast of Central America were recorded on Sunday the 16th though, at about 1248 UT. Although they registered as two separate quakes they had virtually the same epicenter and occurred just 3 seconds apart – the first was Magnitude 6.3, the second was 6.7.

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For Friday, 14 October, 2022

This was the 287th day of the year with 78 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waning Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Taurus and the astro-Logical sign of Gemini, moving into Cancer.

The Moon will be rising around 9:30 PM Local Daylight Time, and tonight it can be seen very close to the red planet Mars. The past few weeks have been outstanding times for observing the planets, with Mercury making its short run of visibility in the morning sky, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have all been easily visible in the overnight hours, and even Uranus and Neptune have been well-positioned for spotting with binoculars or a telescope. So what about Venus? Well, it’s currently hovering too close to the Sun for us to see it, but after the Winter Solstice it will emerge and reclaim its title as brightest planet in the sky.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 57, down 5 from yesterday. Note that last Friday the Sunspot number was 139! Once again, solar regions that had been extremely active simply settled down as soon as they rotated into our direct line of sight. Now these underachieving sunspots are moving out of our view. We did see four lower level M class flares earlier in the week, and there was another M1 flare at 0944 UT today, so their combined after-effects may reach Earth over the next few days. Beginning around midnight UT, and continuing throughout most of the day today, charged solar particles have created Unsettled conditions in Earth’s magnetic field. The Planetary K Index has been holding around 4. Observers in far northern latitudes should be alert for bright Auroras.

In yesterday’s broadcast we mentioned the American Meteor Society had logged nearly 150 reports about a fireball seen across western Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia on Wednesday night. Now the number of reports to the AMS about that event has increased to 239, and many videos of the exploding meteorite that were captured by dash cams and doorbell cameras, etc. have been posted on the internet.

Saturday night, about an hour before midnight Universal Time (or 7:00 PM EDT) Near Earth Object 2020 TO2 will zoom past the Earth at a distance of 1.4 LD, or just a little farther away from us than the Moon. Estimated to be about 14-31 meters in diameter (about the size of a house) this NEO has inspired a lot of sensationalized media warnings – but as space experts say, “A miss is as good as 1.609 kilometers.”

Another object will be passing by us at a much closer and potentially more hazardous distance on Sunday October 16th. This object is a NASA spacecraft named “Lucy.” Lucy’s primary mission is to explore two groups of asteroids associated with Jupiter. Called “Trojan Asteroids,” one group circles ahead of Jupiter in its orbit, the other group follows behind the giant planet. Lucy was launched on the exact same date one year ago, and all this time it has been gearing up for a “slingshot” maneuver

around the Earth in order to get the gravitational boost needed to propel it faster and farther out in the Solar System.

Sunday’s flyby will bring it within 220 miles of our planet and well within the orbital range of most of our satellites and other space debris. NASA engineers will be watching very closely in case last minute corrections are necessary to avoid a collision. From about 1055 – 1102 UT on October 16, observers in Western Australia should be able to see Lucy shining in the sky as bright as a 1st magnitude star. The spacecraft will continue over the Pacific and reappear above the western US where it will be much dimmer, but possibly within view of well-equipped amateur astronomers.

This pass is actually just the first of three gravitational boost maneuvers that will send Lucy around the Earth. The next one comes in 2024 and the third in 2031. If all goes well, the spacecraft should make its way to the second and final group of Trojan asteroids (the ones that are following behind Jupiter in its orbit) by the year 2033 – so be sure to check back with us then for updates!

In the graphic below (courtesy nasa.gov) the green line shows the looping path that spacecraft Lucy will take on its mission to study Jupiter’s “Trojan Asteroids”. The orbits of Earth and Jupiter are shown as orange circles.

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For Thursday, 13 October, 2022

This was the 286th day of the year with 79 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waning Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Taurus and the astro-Logical sign of Gemini.

The Moon will be rising around 9:00PM Local Daylight Time tonight, and it is edging closer to Mars which will rise about an hour later. Late night sky watchers will have another opportunity to see the Moon, Mars, and the Pleiades star cluster in a nice tight grouping, with Taurus the Bull and Orion the Hunter close by as well. But if you can’t stay up to watch the late night show, try looking to the west-southwest in the early morning hours before the sun comes up.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 62, down 10 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet today. The Planetary K Index has ranged around 1. There was an M1 level solar flare at 0019 UT, about 20 minutes after last night’s show ended, so there is a chance that our geomagnetic field will be affected by it and other recent flares in the next few days. On the whole, however, recent solar activity has not produced the level of impact to our planet that was anticipated.

The Orionids meteor shower is becoming more active in advance of its peak next week. This activity, plus other ongoing 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 hours after midnight are usually best for viewing meteors, but we’ve been suggesting that since the Moon is still very bright in the late night hours, earlier in the evening might be the best time this week to “catch a falling star”. Well, the American Meteor Society received nearly 150 reports of a fireball sighted across the western parts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia last night, shortly after 10:00 PM, their local time.

Tropical Storm Karl has weakened since yesterday, in terms of wind speed at least. Sustained winds are now around 45 MPH vs. 60 MPH yesterday, but the storm is continuing its march toward the southern coastal areas of Mexico. Heavy rainfall, flash flooding and mudslides are predicted in the region for Friday. Another disturbance that we’ve been watching on the opposite coast of Mexico has dissipated, and no tropical activity is expected for the eastern Pacific during the next two days.

This past September 10th a company called “AST Space Mobile” launched its Bluewalker 3 satellite into Low Earth Orbit. Bluewalker 3 is the first in a planned network of more than 100 similar satellites called “BlueBirds” that promise to deliver 4G broadband connectivity directly to ordinary cell phones on the ground. This is different from Elon Musk’s Starlink system that requires a special dish antenna and receiver at each subscriber’s location. Both the Starlink and BlueBird satellite systems have raised criticism from astronomers because the vast numbers of satellites they’re sending into the sky can interfere with the sensitive long-exposure photography used by ground-based telescopes for making deep space observations.

There won’t be as many Bluebirds as there are Starlink satellites, but Bluewalker 3 and its follow-ups will be in another league when it comes to sheer size. Bluewalker 3’s antenna array measures 64 square meters, or almost 690 square feet. When its antenna array is fully deployed there will be times when it will reflect enough sunlight to be seen from Earth as the brightest object in the night sky – and the hundred or more Bluebirds to come will be twice as big!

AST Space Mobile has announced they plan to unfurl Bluewalker 3’s antenna array in the second half of October, and when they do, the night sky may never be the same.

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For Wednesday, 12 October, 2022

This was the 285th day of the year with 80 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waning Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Aries and the astro-Logical sign of Taurus, moving into Gemini.

The Moon will be rising around 8:00PM Local Daylight Time, and Mars will rise about two hours later, so late night sky watchers can catch a nice view of the Moon hovering about halfway between the Pleiades star cluster and the planet Mars. The reddish colored star closer to the Moon is Aldeberan. It is the eye of “The Bull” in the constellation Taurus. (Note: Aldeberan should not be confused with the fictional planet Alderaan, the home planet of Princess Leia that was destroyed by The Death Star in the original Star Wars movie.)

Jupiter and Saturn will also be visible to the eye in tonight’s sky, each rising earlier and appearing higher in the sky and west of the Moon.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 72, down 62 from yesterday. That big drop is due to several active regions rotating away from Earth view. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet today. The Planetary K Index has ranged around 1. No Major flares have been observed since yesterday, but there is still a chance that effects of the flares that occurred over the past two days could impact our geomagnetic field by tomorrow.

The Orionids meteor shower is becoming more active in advance of its peak next week. This activity, plus other ongoing 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 hours after midnight are usually the best for seeing meteors, but in last night’s report we suggested that since the Moon is still very bright in the overnight hours, earlier in the evenings between Sunset and Moonrise might be the best time to watch for “shooting stars” this week – and once again, the American Meteor Society logged a number of fireball reports from around the world for sightings that occurred before midnight in each area’s local time zone.

Today NASA announced a new projected launch date for the Artemis 1 moon rocket. The launch was delayed twice because of fuel leak issues, and then a third time because of Hurricane Ian’s imminent approach. If the fourth time is the charm, Artemis 1 will lift off for the Moon on Monday November 14, sending an uncrewed spacecraft around the Moon and back with splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on December 9th.

The Chinese Space Station Tiangong will be making visible passes over much of the US tomorrow evening. Observers in the southeastern states can see it moving from the southwest to northeast after 7:10 PM EDT, and the western states may see the next flyover moving west to east from about 8:20 to 8:30 MDT.

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For Tuesday, 11 October, 2022

This was the 284th day of the year with 81 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waning Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Aries and the astro-Logical sign of Taurus.

In the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday October 12, the planet Uranus will be positioned within 1° of the Moon. In fact, for observers in some western parts of the US and Canada, the Moon will actually move in front of and “occult” Uranus at about 2:00AM MDT. You will need good binoculars or a telescope to see the seventh planet from the Sun, but look just below the Moon at about the “5 o’clock” position if you’d like to try and get a rare view of Uranus, “The Ice Giant”.

And while you’re observing the pre-dawn sky, be sure to look for two of the most easily recognizable star patterns up there, namely the constellation Orion, and the Pleiades star cluster, aka “The Seven Sisters”. These formations will become prominent earlier in the night as the year progresses.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 134, up 20 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Unsettled over the weekend. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 3 to 1. The third M class solar flare in two days occurred around 1052 UT. Geomagnetic effects from these flares could be observed over the next few days, possibly sparking bright Auroral displays in the northern latitudes.

The Draconid meteor shower recently peaked and now a more significant shower known as “The Orionids” is becoming more active. These two, plus the usual influx of sporadic meteors, should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. Since the Moon is still very bright in the overnight hours, early evenings between Sunset and Moonrise might be the best time to watch for meteors and fireballs this week.

Indeed, the American Meteor Society received over 100 reports of fireball sightings for the early evening of October 10th. There were two widely seen events — the first was at 2251 UT with about 30 reports coming from the UK, France, and Ireland. Another fireball was reported by nearly 60 people in Georgia and Florida at 9:39 PM EDT (or 0137 UT October 11.)

And just when we thought we were getting a break from hurricanes, Tropical Storm Karl has appeared almost out of nowhere, bringing heavy rainfall and 40 MPH winds to the southeastern coast of Mexico and surrounding coastal areas. Tropical Storm conditions may develop further inland for Mexico by Thursday. Another disturbance on the other side of Mexico in the eastern Pacific is likely to bring heavy rains and wind gusts along the western coastline, but further intensification for that storm is not expected at this time.

This afternoon NASA held a press briefing to discuss the results of the DART experiment. Two weeks ago a small spacecraft was deliberately crashed into an asteroid named Dimorphos, which was the smaller of a double asteroid system about 7 million miles from Earth. The mission went perfectly in all

regards, and the science team reported that their ultimate goal of redirecting the asteroid’s orbital path was surprisingly successful. Follow up observations have confirmed that the orbital period of Dimorphos was changed by 32 minutes, which was near the high end of the range that had been predicted by theoretical models. In fact, team members said they would have considered a change of just 73 seconds a success. This event marks the first time that humans have ever altered the course of a space object and it supports the possibility that potentially dangerous asteroids can be pushed aside before they impact the Earth. NASA scientists emphasized that the key to making this succeed will be to identify and attack any Earth-directed asteroids years in advance.

A surprising after effect from the DART mission is that the asteroid Dimorphos is now being followed by a 10,000 km long “tail” of debris that was knocked off the surface of the asteroid – of course at least some of the debris seen in the photo below is probably bits and pieces of the DART spacecraft itself! Quoting from NASA:

This imagery from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope from Oct. 8, 2022, shows the debris blasted from the surface of Dimorphos 285 hours after the asteroid was intentionally impacted by NASA’s DART spacecraft on Sept. 26. The shape of that tail has changed over time. Scientists are continuing to study this material and how it moves in space, in order to better understand the asteroid.

Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/Hubble

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For Monday, 10 October, 2022

This was the 283rd day of the year with 82 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waning Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Pisces and the astro-Logical sign of Aries, moving into Taurus.

The Full Hunter’s Moon came on Sunday the 9th. The Moon is still very bright, but it will be rising soon after sunset and then progressively later each night this week, allowing for some good views of the early evening sky. Tomorrow morning look west to catch the nearly full Moon hovering low on the horizon when the Sun is rising in the east.

On Saturday, October 8th , Mercury was at its “greatest western elongation,” and the usually invisible planet can be seen low in the east about an hour before local sunrise over the next few weeks. Saturn and Jupiter will rise early in the evenings, while Mars begins to appear after 10:00 PM Local Time.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 114, down 25 from Friday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Unsettled over the weekend. The Planetary K Index has ranged around 3. An M1 Class solar flare on Friday was followed by another one today at 0047 UT and a level M2 flare at 1628 UT. Geomagnetic effects from these flares could be observed over the next few days, possibly sparking bright Auroral displays in the northern latitudes. The Draconid meteor shower peaked on the night of October 8, but a few remnants from it and other ongoing minor showers, plus the usual influx of sporadic meteors, should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. Tonight between Sunset and Moonrise should be a particularly good time to watch the sky.

The American Meteor Society has logged over 100 reports of fireball sightings for the night of October 9th, with at least 84 reports from an event that occurred just after 8:00PM EDT. This fireball was witnessed by people across the northeastern corner of the US and also near Ottawa, Canada.

On Tuesday, October 11, at 2:00PM EDT, NASA is scheduled to hold a press briefing to discuss their early findings from the DART Mission. Two weeks ago today the DART spacecraft was deliberately crashed into a tiny asteroid called Dimorphos as an experiment to determine whether such a method could be used to alter the course of any asteroids that might be heading towards an impact with the Earth. The briefing will be televised on NASA’s various media platforms.

The Chinese space station “Tiangong” will make a pass that will be visible across much of the southwestern US shortly after 7:00 PM MDT tomorrow evening, October 11.

Tropical Storm Julia strengthened into a category 1 hurricane before it plowed across Nicaragua over the weekend. The storm brought high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, and localized mudslides. Extensive damage and at least 5 deaths have been attributed to Julia so far. The storm has weakened

now, but the remnants will continue to deliver heavy rainfall along the western coast line of Central America into Tuesday.

A 6.2 Magnitude earthquake was detected at 1238 UT on October 9th on the central Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is a fault line that runs through the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and more-or-less follows the curvatures of the coastlines between North and South America to the west, and Europe and Africa to the East. This quake was centered about half-way between South America and Africa, and it was the first earthquake greater than magnitude 6 that has been recorded in almost two weeks.

Note that it was two weeks ago today that the planet Jupiter had reached its closest distance to the earth since 1963, and we posted a special report concerning the possibility of increased earthquake activity due to Jupiter’s gravitational pull on our planet. After reviewing the historical data on earthquakes from 1963, we speculated that if there had been an increase in seismic activity due to Jupiter’s position back then, it seemed to occur in the few weeks prior to and a few weeks after the giant planet’s close approach, rather than right at the time of the closest approach. We’ll be keeping an eye out for any uptick in seismic activity over the next few weeks, and we’ll post an update to our special report based on those observations. (The Special Report called, “Will Jupiter Make the Earth Quake?” can be found online at Yourufoshow.com)

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For Friday, 07 October, 2022

This was the 280th day of the year with 85 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Aquarius and the astro-Logical sign of Pisces.

The Moon will be Full on Sunday the 9th. This one is traditionally known as the “Full Hunter’s Moon”.

On Saturday, October 8th , Mercury will be at its “greatest western elongation,” which simply means that, from our perspective on Earth, the tiny planet appears to be at a point of greatest separation from the Sun. Most of the time it is impossible for us to see Mercury because, since its orbit is so close to the Sun, it is usually obscured in daylight. But for the next few weeks Mercury will be brightly visible low in the east about an hour before local sunrise.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 139, down 12 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet to Unsettled. The Planetary K Index has ranged around 3. There was an M1 Class solar flare today that lasted for over three hours. Geomagnetic effects from this flare could impact our planet by the end of the weekend, possibly sparking bright Auroral displays in the northern latitudes. The Draconid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of October 8. This and other ongoing minor showers, along with the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies — however, the approaching Full Moon will obscure all but the brightest ones. Stay tuned though, we expect to be reporting on a big uptick in meteor activity soon.

The tropical disturbance that we’ve been following all this week has graduated from being called “Potential Tropical Cyclone 13” to “Tropical Storm Julia”. Julia is forecast to strengthen further to hurricane status by late Saturday as she churns over the southwestern Caribbean Sea and towards Central America. Hurricane force winds, heavy rainfall, dangerous storm surge, and mudslides are expected in Nicaragua and neighboring areas this weekend.

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For Thursday, 06 October, 2022

This was the 279th day of the year with 86 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Aquarius and the astro-Logical sign of Pisces.

The Moon will rise about an hour before sunset tonight. It is growing bigger and brighter as it approaches Full Moon status, and could make a striking sight low above the eastern horizon in twilight for the next several nights. Mercury is also becoming brighter and more visible on the eastern horizon, but it is rising just before dawn in the early mornings.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 151, down 2 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet to Unsettled. The Planetary K Index has ranged around 3. They say a watched pot never boils, and something similar must apply to the sun because all of the sunspots that have been flaring almost continuously for the past several weeks seem to settle down when they turn to face the Earth. No major Meteor Showers are peaking 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 logged over 150 reports of fireball sightings since last night. At least 86 fireball reports came in from Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland for a fireball that was seen at 1737 UT on October 5. About a dozen reports came from the US states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and New York for a fireball seen at 0250 UT October 6, and there were nearly 60 more sightings from across the south central US states for a fireball at 1053 UT October 6. Regular listeners may remember that yesterday we announced Near Earth Object 2022 TD would be passing by Earth at slightly less than 1 Lunar Distance around 0353 UT on October 6, curiously close to the middle of the time frame of these widespread fireball sightings!

NASA’s SpaceX Crew Dragon mission docked with the International Space Station at 2101 UT today. Mission Commander Nicole Mann is the first Native American woman in space. The ISS will be making a pass visible across most of the eastern US tomorrow night, shortly after 7PM EDT October 7.

The tropical disturbance that’s been following the early path of Ian finally has a number – it is now officially “Potential Tropical Cyclone 13”. A tropical storm warning has been issued for portions of

Colombia. Venezuela and nearby islands could also see tropical force winds and heavy rain by Friday. The storm is expected to continue westward across Central America into early next week, with heavy rains, flooding and landslides possible.

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For Wednesday, 05 October, 2022

This was the 278th day of the year with 87 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Capricorn and the astro-Logical sign of Aquarius.

Saturn will appear close above and to the right of the Moon tonight so the pair should make a good target for binoculars or a small telescope. The Waxing Moon is becoming more prominent and interfering with our view of other night sky objects, but tiny Mercury is becoming more and more visible just before dawn in the early mornings. Mercury is usually difficult or impossible to see because it stays so close to the Sun, but you should be able to spot it low on a clear eastern horizon about an hour before the Sun comes up over the next several days.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 153, up 9 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet so far today. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 2 to 3. Although one of the biggest and most active sunspot groups seen in many years has rotated towards our planet, it has not released any Earth-directed flares as of 2 PM EDT today. Solar forecasters are still predicting a 65% chance of M Class flares and a 30% chance of an X Class flare however. No major Meteor Showers are peaking 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.

At 0353 UT on October 6th – which is just before midnight tonight EDT– Near Earth Object 2022 TD will pass by the Earth within .969 LD, or slightly closer to us than the Moon itself! This object is an estimated 10 meters (or about 30’) in diameter with a velocity of 10 km/second (over 6 miles per second) but it poses no immediate threat to the Earth.

The SpaceX Crew-5 mission launched successfully from Kennedy Space Center around noon EDT today. The capsule is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station tomorrow.

A tropical disturbance that’s been meandering westward along the coast of South America has not shown much sign of strengthening, but forecasters say that could change when the system reaches the central Caribbean Sea. Another Tropical Depression farther out in the Atlantic will also bear watching in the week ahead.

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For Tuesday, 04 October, 2022

This was the 277th day of the year with 88 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Gibbous Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Capricorn and the astro-Logical sign of Capricorn, moving into Aquarius.

Saturn will appear close to the Moon on October 4th and 5th. Brighter than most stars, Saturn shines with a distinctly golden hue. It can be seen to the left of the Moon tonight, and to the right of the Moon tomorrow night. Even a small telescope should provide a nice view of Saturn’s famous rings. Jupiter and Mars are also still visible in the evenings, but the Waxing Moon will begin to dominate the night sky in the coming week.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 144, up 42 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Unsettled today. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 2 to 4. Minor geomagnetic storms are possible today and tomorrow, thanks to multiple Solar Flares that have occurred over the past several days. Residents in latitudes above 50 ° should be alert for bright Auroras. No major Meteor Showers are peaking 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.

In the Atlantic, the tropical disturbance mentioned in yesterday’s report as following the trail of Ian’s early movements above the coast of South America has continued heading towards the Windward Islands and Caribbean Sea. Forecasters are beginning to see potential for further development over the next 5 days.

Debris from several SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere at various times throughout the day tomorrow, October 5. The exact point of reentry is impossible to predict but the tracks of the final orbits will cover parts of the US and Canada, as well as Europe and Africa, so unusual fiery lights in the sky could be seen by observers in many parts of the world.

Meanwhile, another Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX rocket is expected to send a crew of four to the International Space Station tomorrow, October 5th. Lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center is scheduled for 12:00 PM EDT.

On this date in 1957, at 1928 Universal Time (or 2:28 PM EST) the Soviet Union launched the world’s first artificial satellite and The Space Age began. That first satellite was called “Sputnik,” and though it was only about the size of a beach ball, it was easily seen from Earth if it passed over your location at the right time of day because its polished surface reflected sunlight like a disco ball in the sky. Amateur radio operators around the world could even hear the chirping telemetry signals it transmitted from outer space.

It’s estimated that over 11,000 satellites have been sent into space since Sputnik, with some 5,000 of them still in Earth orbit. About 3,000 of this number are currently active, with more being added daily to perform a wide variety of communication and data gathering operations.

The photograph below (courtesy of nasa.gov) shows a replica of Sputnik 1 with its four radio aerials.

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For Monday, 03 October, 2022

This was the 276th day of the year with 89 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Moon reached its First Quarter phase today. It is in the astro-Nomical constellation Sagittarius and the astro-Logical sign of Capricorn.

Saturn and Jupiter continue to appear prominently in the early evenings, while Mars rises later in the night. Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is also becoming visible to the naked eye low on the eastern horizon about an hour before sunrise.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 102, up 46 from Friday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Unsettled today. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 2 to 4 today, but spiked to Storm level 5 before midnight UT on Sunday. The Sun has been extremely active over the weekend and throughout the day today. There have been multiple M Class Solar Flares, and an X1 Class flare occurred at 2025 UT on October 2nd. The Earth has managed to dodge the brunt of any harmful effects from recent strong flares because their sources have not been squarely aimed at our planet. That streak of luck could come to an end this week, however, when one of the biggest and most active sunspot groups seen in recent years rotates directly into our sights. Auroras could become visible as far south as the northern tier of the US, and into corresponding latitudes of Europe in the nights ahead. High solar activity at this time of year is also known to cause disruptions to satellites in geo-synchronous orbits, including the satellites used for sending TV programming to satellite dish subscribers on Earth, and strong flares can affect operation of GPS satellite systems as well. No major Meteor Showers are peaking 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 has logged about 4 dozen reports of fireball sightings since Friday night, including reports from Slovenia, Italy, England, Canada and the US.

The death toll from Hurricane Ian in Florida alone has surpassed 100 and is likely to climb even higher as search and rescue efforts continue. Major flooding, power outages, and conditions that can best be described as “obliteration” will continue long after the storm that tore through the Caribbean, Cuba, Florida and the US Mid-Atlantic has dissipated.

On Monday afternoon a disturbance in the Atlantic to the northeast of Brazil seems to be closely following the early path of Ian, but it has shown little sign of development. Another disturbance much farther east in the Atlantic appears likely to strengthen, but is expected to steer clear of the Americas.

In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Orlene developed into a category 4 hurricane before making landfall on the west coast of Mexico. The storm quickly weakened but heavy rain, possible flooding, and landslides in the mountainous terrain will continue.

EXTRA: The image below shows the two areas near opposite edges of the Sun that released strong flares almost simultaneously on Sunday October 2. This photo shows the sun in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths and represents characteristic temperatures around 10.8 million degrees Fahrenheit. The large and very active sunspot group at top left will be rotating to face the Earth directly over the next several days. (Public use photo courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.)

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For Friday, 30 September, 2022

This was the 273nd day of the year with 92 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 Scorpio and the astro-Logical sign of Sagittarius.

The Crescent Moon is now visible low in the west-southwest after sunset – and did you know: Saturday October 1st is “International Observe the Moon Night” . . .

This event has been held annually since 2010, and is always scheduled on a night when the waxing Moon is near its First Quarter phase. These early evening viewing times of the Moon are considered ideal for seeing exceptionally clear details on the Lunar surface. So, whether you are simply looking with your eyes, through binoculars, or using a small telescope, try to get a good look at the Moon over the weekend. People all over the world will be hosting in-person observing parties, and there will be many virtual events as well, so check online for more information about “International Observe the Moon Night” in your area.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 56, down 16 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Unsettled to Quiet. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 4 to 2 today. A large sunspot group will be rotating into Earth-view over the weekend. This disturbance is known to have been producing intense activity on the far side of the Sun for several days, and it has released M Class Solar Flares just off the sun’s northeastern edge today, so there are reasonable expectations for strong Earth-directed flares in the upcoming week. High solar activity at this time of year is particularly known for causing disruptions to satellites in geo-synchronous orbits, including the satellites used for sending TV programming to satellite dish subscribers on Earth. 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.

Two Near Earth Objects flew past the Earth today at less than 2 Lunar Distances away. Near Earth Object 2022 SZ9 will come within 1.52 LD at about 2300 UT on October 1.

A Magnitude 5.9 earthquake was recorded in Indonesia at 1928 UT today.

The first images from NASA’s Juno probe flyby of Jupiter’s moon Europa have started coming in. Researchers will be comparing these images to the last close-up images taken of Europa to look for any changes in the surface structure that would be indicators that Europa is still an active body.

The full force of Hurricane Ian’s streak of destruction across Florida became increasingly evident today. Homes were ripped from their foundations, entire communities turned into piles of debris, and

roads and bridges were washed away leaving many residents stranded. At least four people have been confirmed dead, and that toll is likely to rise as search and rescue efforts continue. As of Friday morning over 2 million customers were still without electricity, further hampering communications and recovery efforts.

Ian made its second landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 Hurricane but has now weakened to Post Tropical Storm status with maximum sustained winds around 70 MPH as of 5 PM EDT. Tropical Storm force winds are expected along the coasts of South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina through early Saturday, with life-threatening storm surge possible along the same coastal areas. Major flooding will continue through next week across central Florida, and considerable flooding is possible in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia into early Saturday. As of late Friday afternoon another 380,000 people in the Carolinas and Virginia are without electricity from the storm.

Out in the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Orlene has begun making its predicted turn to the north and is expected to begin spreading Tropical Force winds over Mexico’s west central coast over the weekend. At 3PM MDT the National Hurricane Center advised that heavy rainfall is expected to lead to flash flooding and possible landslides in the mountainous terrain of Southwest Mexico going into Monday afternoon. Note that the storm will be impacting the same general region of Mexico that was hit by a series of strong earthquakes last week.

The image below shows the waxing crescent Moon as photographed from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Note the long shadows and irregular surface features along the “terminator”, the lit-unlit edge line along the Moon’s surface. These details are similar to what Earth based observers can see on “International Observe the Moon Night”. (Public use photo from images.nasa.gov)

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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.