First of all I like to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best in 2009.
Just as I was going to call it an early night and head off to bed I got a call from Dr. Tony Phillips at Spaceweather Phone telling me that a Solar wind was due to hit Earth the morning of the 31st. and to expect Auroras!! It would be the last Auroras of 2008. It had been overcast that night but I looked outside just in case it had cleared, and it did. Was able to get my Photon Phix in between all the clouds we have been having lately, mind you still -30c but at least clear.
If I were to rate seeing a meteor fall from the sky a "10" I would have to give Auroras a "9", very beautiful, dancing through the night sky. Deadly charged energetic particles so energetic that not even the Sun's gravity can keep hold of them, escape the Sun to form the Solar winds. Once they arrive at Earth our protective Magnetosphere direct them away from us, some charged particles sneak into our upper atmosphere where they collide with our oxygen and nitrogen molecules, turning their deadly energy into the harmless lights we see as Auroras, paintings in the sky. The Auroras got their name from Galileo Galilei, he named them after the Roman Goddess of Morning.
I would have liked to have seen the Moon, Jupiter and Mercury conjunction but due to clouds wasn't able, actually the clouds broke just after the Moon set, sucks, but hey Genie got the awesome shot below, thanks Genie!
Jupiter being the top planet in this picture, Mercury below, so Genie gets another pair of Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus 3D glasses for submitting her image to Black holes, congratulations again Genie.
I was emailed by Find Schools Online letting me know I had made their top 100 list of Space and Astronomy Blogs, which is kind of cool, there are some really good blogs/sites that you might want to visit, nice thing is they are all together, you don't have to search around the net for them, all in one place.
I'll leave you now with a short clip I put together of the Aurora, 55 frames over a real time of 10 minutes. Also don't forget the Quadrantids Meteor Shower this Friday/ Saturday, peaking between 2 am and 6 am Saturday morning. Look to the NE under the handle of the Big Dipper around 11:00 pm Friday.