Sunspot AR1944 Blasting Earth #skstorm

I hope our electrical grids are prepared, as there is a risk of overloading from an event like this.

Sun with sunspot
-The Sun Wednesday afternoon, from Regina. Canon S5IS on tripod with welding filter held in place to sufficiently darken the Sun for the camera’s sensor. 48X digital magnification.

This ongoing radiation storm ranks S2 on NOAA storm scales. It is rich in “hard” protons with more than 100 MeV of energy, which accounts for the snowiness of the SOHO coronagraph images. According to NOAA, “passengers and crew in high-flying aircraft at high latitudes may be exposed to elevated radiation risk” during such a storm.

The source of all this activity is AR1944, one of the biggest sunspots of the past decade. The sprawling active region is more than 200,000 km wide and contains dozens of dark cores. Its primary core, all by itself, is large enough to swallow Earth three times over.

Residence at UofR

Watch for aurora over the next few nights, they could be the best ever seen.


Lights from Space

Tragic fire from space.

Check out Mars in great detail.

Human life may have originated on Mars?

More link dumping:
-Teach your kid how to share.

An excellent list of free programs, and ones you cannot trust. Opt out of PRISM. Join your friends in a prism-break.
-Send messages encrypted “OTR”.

-Journalism’s slide into working for the man.

-Why Peace is Possible. An actually amazing video about a new way to think of peace. Paul K Chappell is worth learning from.

Meteor and Aurora

This is my new best meteor photo, and it came with some faint aurora (northern lights) at the bottom of the frame too!

Meteor and Aurora

CFI had a star party for watching the Perseid meteor shower on Saturday night. There should be more meteors tonight too, so head outside and look up for a few minutes and you’ll probably catch one or a few.

The group of us saw at least 2 impressive fireballs at different times. We saw the ISS make two passes overhead, and a smattering of other satellites. Some people saw an Iridium flare from a satellite. And the camp fire and food was fantastic also. What a great night!



On Friday night I was out with Jesse and we listened to Feist in Victoria Park.

Camp fire with a misty lens from the fog. Driving through it, it looked like we were at warp speed on the grid roads.

Wave At Saturn Friday #saturnpic

Are you shy about having your photo taken? What if you’ll be an indistinguishable smudge on a pale blue dot, then are you still shy? If so, don’t go outside tomorrow. NASA is hyping the fun occasion of Earth being imaged from the outer solar system for only the third time in history. The whole human family is going to have its portrait taken. Are you ready to photo-bomb the occasion?

Here’s a photo from a month ago of the planetary system where the photographing spacecraft resides.

Saturn June 9, 2013 4685

Head outside at (2:30pm in Regina, Friday), look southeast from North America, and give a wave so people around you ask what’s going on. Let them know they are in one of the world’s most famous photographs of Earth.

Aurora in Wood Mountain

One of the advantages to small-town Saskatchewan, is that it’s easier to escape light pollution than it is in a city like Regina. I was fortunate to be out of the city on June 29th in the very early morning, so have many fantastic aurora (Northern Lights) photos and animations to share. A south pointing solar wind storm was hitting the magnetosphere, so we got very pretty lights.

They appeared even to the south of me, at about 49 degrees latitude. Kansas saw them apparently.
Aurora from Wood Mountain
- Here’s one from overhead, as a satellite streaks south.

Moon from Wood Mountain
- The Moon was looking more super than usual, as the sky was mostly clear. This is max zoom on my camera, 48X digital. 12X is actual magnification.

Aurora from Wood Mountain
- These streaks of light were an experiment as I ran through the frame twice, holding my cell phone flashlight app turned to police lights mode.

Aurora from Wood Mountain

Aurora from Wood Mountain
- The church has become disused for religious services it hosted for Catholics and United, for more than three decades. The grain elevator behind the church needs saving, as it’s in the cross hairs for demolition if a group of interested people don’t step forward to give it a new direction. The Grain Elevator, a NFB film, was filmed in this particular elevator.

Dark Sky Preserve at Wood Mountain

Dark Sky Preserve Sunset

I found a new way to appreciate my home town through the eyes of astronomers this weekend. Also, I used the astronomers’ telescopes, which is a great way to look from their perspective on the universe. Wood Mountain is the gateway to the East Block of the Grasslands National Park which is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve. The Park and the RASC Regina branch had Peter McMahon from SkyNews Magazine come out to check out the park and give a presentation.
Dark Sky Preserve

As the presentation ended, uncommon noctilucent clouds lit up on the northern horizon, illuminated by the set Sun.

Noctilucent Clouds at Dark Sky Preserve

RASC had people from Regina, Saskatoon, and even Port Hope, ON attending the star party.

As everyone was eagerly photographing the clouds, I saw a satellite zooming up from the west, and it was soon confirmed to be the International Space Station. It made another pass an hour and a half later.

Dark Sky Preserve
I lost count how many satellites I saw. There was a binary pair, someone explained were US Military. There was an Iridium, known for its magnificent flare overhead. And I saw a meteor too.


The skies stayed perfectly clear for the next two hours, then some clouds and fog rolled in just before it started to rain around 2am Sunday morning.

If the rain on the tent hadn’t been so noisy, then these Leopard frogs would have been the noisiest background noise.
Leopard Frog

Meadowlarks sing very loudly and distinctively. I enjoy imitating their tweeting with a whistle.

I’ll be going on next year’s Dark Sky Preserve tour of southern Saskatchewan, that’s for sure! The weather looked rainy from Regina, but it cleared up as soon as Saturday afternoon hit in the Park. The campers who tried Friday night too, ended up a little rained on, near Val Marie. You never know what the weather will hold until that hour hits.

Eatin’ Bugs

Insects will be a staple food on Mars and other space colonies.

Paul Pardee :

Lets have the delegates to the UN have a bug banquet to show their support of entomophagy. I know that support from political leaders would help. I’m sure having the Obamas munching on some meal worms while Prince Charles and Camilla have a feast of crickets will really push people towards eating insects instead of food.

Mark Caris :

@Paul Pardee Yes, eating bugs is disgusting. Not wholesome like hormone fed, fecal-spattered beef, covered with a processed pus-filled milk (BGH induced) product, in a bun of pesticide-contaminated GMO wheat. yum.

Of course, a pigs’ rectal lining filled with unsaleable, nitrate treated offal sounds good now, too…

Two billion people can’t be wrong.

I haven’t tried it yet, I’m waiting for a trustworthy supplier/chef to enter my life first. That, or critical hunger.

Russian Chelyabinsk Meteorite Injures People – UPDATED

Shocking, exciting news from Russia early this morning as coincidentally [because they were on different orbits reports CBC Radio] on the same day a major 50m asteroid (2012 DA14) is set to fly by Earth, a meteorite has struck Russia. Reports are that there are injuries, which have been very rare for meteorite impacts until now.

The camera person nearly lost their poop. Sonic boom of doom, anyone?

[UPDATE: dead link youtube

One of my dreams in life is to shoot a video at least this awesome, of a fireball.

UPDATES: So many incredible videos!
Here’s a dash cam from this site.

A lot of unlikely, and wrong details in this RT early report.

There is confirmation from scientists that the report of the Russians “shooting” this down are erroneous boasting.


NBC has some more video, and the following video that streamed for me was about 2012 DA14 which flies by later today and has no chance of an impact with our surface or atmosphere. We’ll be talking about the Chelyabinsk meteorite for a long time after today.

Watch this one to the end, it has more sonic booming. It gives a sense of how far that sound wave had to travel to hit at the camera.


RT has photos of smashed windows, and a hole in a brick building.

ADDED: Globe and Pail has details of how many injured, it’s over 500.

“Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said the meteorite was travelling at a speed of 30 kilometres per second and that such events were hard to predict. The Interior Ministry said the meteorite explosion had cased a sonic boom.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said 514 people had sought medical help, mainly for light injuries caused by flying glass, and that 112 of those were kept in hospital. Search groups were set up to look for the remains of the meteorite.”

FRIDAY Morning CST: Fragments may have fallen into a frozen lake. Fragments of a meteorite were found on a Saskatchewan pond’s icy surface several years ago after video helped lead searchers to the area.

UPDATE: At 10AM CST, the Russians are reporting 985 injuries took place. I feel bad about all of the people who rushed to windows to see the flash of light, and wound up with a face full of exploding glass as the shockwave hit. It would be me too, if I’d been there, and hadn’t had a quick way out onto a balcony. Duck and Cover isn’t drilled into me.

ADDED: Compilation video including some with windows breaking off screen.

ADDED: This is one of the more amazing ones I’ve found: