Friday, October 28, 2011

ALERT: Snowstorm Ready To Strike Northeast

Another storm coming Saturday to the Northeast bringing drenching rain also threatens a heavily populated part of the region with downed trees, power outages, and travel delays from heavy, wet snow. Fresh cold air will invade the Northeast through Friday, paving the way for major problems in the Northeast as the second and stronger storm in three days comes calling this weekend. If the storm develops to its full potential, thousands of trees could come down, and over a million people could be without power.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Skywatch: Planets on the horizon at sunset Oct. 27

SUNSET CONJUNCTION: When the sun goes down tonight, look west into the twilight. Venus and Mercury are in conjunction less than 3 degrees apart. Binoculars may be required to see Mercury shining alongside the much-brighter Venus. A 2% crescent Moon is there, too, but only black-belt observers will find it in the glowing sky just below Mercury.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SKYWATCH: Auroras light up USA

A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth on Oct. 24th at approximately 1800 UT (2:00 pm EDT). The impact strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field, directly exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparked an intense geomagnetic storm. As night fell over North America, auroras spilled across the Canadian border into the contiguous United States. A US Department of Defense satellite photographed the crossing:

"This shows the auroras on Oct. 25th at 0140 GMT," says Paul McCrone of the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Monterey, California. He created the image using visual and infrared data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's F18 polar orbiter. DMSP satellites carry low light cameras for nightime monitoring of moonlit clouds, city lights and auroras. Some of the auroras recorded by the F18 on Oct. 25th were as bright as the city lights underneath.

VOLCANO WATCH: Several volcanos are erupting around the world

Volatile volcano erupts in central Indonesia, no reports of injuries or damage -
By Associated Press, October 26 - JAKARTA, Indonesia — A volcano in central Indonesia has erupted, spewing hot smoke and ash thousands of feet into the air. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Mount Lokon, located on northern Sulawesi island, had been dormant for years before rumbling back to life several months ago. Surono, a government volcanologist who uses only one name, says it unleashed two strong eruptions at 5:19 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. They were preceded by several smaller blasts hours earlier.

Mount Etna Volcano Erupts In Sicily, Italy - The volcano in Italy, which is the tallest and most active volcano in Europe, is spewing lava for the 17th time this year, according to BBC News. Sicily's Mount Etna is erupting again. The volcano in Italy, which is the tallest and most active volcano in Europe, is spewing lava for the 17th time this year, according to BBC News. The current eruption has not caused injuries or property damage, according to the Associated Press. Ash from the eruption has caused a closure at the airport in nearby Catania, Sicily's second-largest city. According to BBC News, Etna was shooting lava 300 feet (100 meters) into the air.

Uturuncu Volcano In Bolivia Is 'Inflating With Astonishing Speed' - Why is a South American volcano rapidly expanding? It is a mystery that a team of scientists working in Bolivia are hoping to solve. Uturuncu, a nearly 20,000 foot volcano located in southwestern Bolivia, is expanding at a rate of one to two centimeters per year, "inflating with astonishing speed," reports OurAmazingPlanet's Andrea Mustain on LiveScience. According to Shan de Silva, an Oregon State University professor studying the volcano, the 43 mile-wide disc of expanding land around Uturuncu is "one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dollar slumps to record low versus yen

NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar slumped to a record low against the yen on Friday in its biggest one-day decline in nearly two months, bringing back into focus the threat of official intervention to weaken the Japanese currency. Traders reported initial large selling of dollars from a U.K. clearer and macro funds, and losses accelerated after the pair broke through a series of stops around 76.30 and 75.90. "No specific news. Just general investor impatience with the Bank of Japan's lack of a yen weakening policy," said Tommy Molloy, chief dealer at FX Solutions at Saddle River, New Jersey.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Food, Shelter Data Worse Than in Recession

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Households are having more trouble paying for basic necessities now than during the recession, one study shows, offering further proof the economic recovery has been anything but for many Americans. Fewer Americans had enough money to pay for food and shelter in September of this year than the same month in 2008, according to Gallup's monthly survey of more than 29,000 adults. Just 80.1% of those surveyed could afford to buy food for their family last month and 89.8% could afford housing, both of which were down 1 percentage point from September 2008, in the middle of the recession.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inflation Pressures Intensify as Producer Prices Jump

Tuesday, 18 Oct 2011 - U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in September to record their largest increase in five months as gasoline prices surged, a government report showed on Tuesday. The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted index for prices received by farms, factories and refineries, increased 0.8 percent after being flat in August. Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to increase 0.2 percent. Excluding volatile food and energy, wholesale prices rose 0.2 percent last month after inching up 0.1 percent in August. That was above economists expectations for a 0.1 percent gain.

Monday, October 17, 2011

SKYWATCH: Space telescope continues to descend toward Earth.

ROSAT DECAY UPDATE: The massive ROSAT X-ray space telescope continues to descend toward Earth. Latest estimates place the re-entry around noon Universal Time on Oct. 23rd. Uncertainties exceed 10 hours, which makes it impossible to say exactly where ROSAT will re-enter. Many sky watchers are seeing ROSAT in the night sky shining about as brightly as a 1st magnitude star.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BlackBerry outages spread to North America

October 12, 2011 NEW YORK (AP) — Sporadic outages of BlackBerry messaging and email service spread to the U.S. and Canada on Wednesday, as problems stretched into the third day for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the phones, said users in the Americas "may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning," and said it's working to fix the problem. Bell Canada spokesman Mark Langton said some BlackBerry users at all Canadian carriers were affected. Overseas, the problems started Monday, leaving many BlackBerry owners exasperated. On Tuesday, RIM said a crucial link in its infrastructure had failed, and a backup didn't work either. It said it was now working to get through a backlog of traffic.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: Incoming solar flares

NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of minor geomagnetic storms on Oct. 5th and 6th as a series of two to three CMEs sweeps past our planet. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Giant Asteroid Vesta Has Mountain Taller Than Anything on Earth

A NASA spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Vesta is revealing new details about the huge space rock's surface, including a massive mountain that rises taller than Mt. Everest on Earth. NASA's Dawn probe has been circling Vesta since mid-July, when it arrived in the asteroid belt that orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. So far, Dawn has beamed back surprising views of Vesta that revealed an enormous mountain in the asteroid's southern hemisphere and show that its crater surface is incredibly diverse place.
"We are learning many amazing things about Vesta, which we call the smallest terrestrial planet," Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission, said in a statement. "Like Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury, Vesta has ancient basaltic lava flows on the surface and a large iron core … The south polar mountain is larger than the big island of Hawaii, the largest mountain on Earth, as measured from the ocean floor. It is almost as high as the highest mountain in the solar system, the shield volcano Olympus Mons on Mars."