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State of the Earth Report
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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