At about 11.27pm EDT tonight NASA will launch a Minataur V rocket carrying a LADEE moon probe. The launch will take place from the Wallops facility in Virginia. If the sky is clear, many along the east Coast will be able to see the rocket as it moves towards space. The Orbital Sciences Corp have prepared a map to show which areas it should be visible from.
LADEE, short for “Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer,” will circle the Moon on a 100 day mission to assay the lunar atmosphere. Instruments onboard the spacecraft will look for signs of humidity, electrified dust, and atoms hopping across the lunar surface. A NASA video about LADEE previews the mission. (source)
The Sun is still very quiet with 75 sunspots. None of them currently have strong fields for flares and NOAA are estimating the chance of an M class flare at just 0.5% over the next 24 hours and of an X class flare at 0.1% of the same period.
NASA has updated their solar prediction for cycle 24. You can read the whole thing here. They are saying the maximum is summer 2013 but have not confirmed that it has actually taken place. I suspect it has given the very low sunspot numbers, though they could rise again giving a ‘double peak’. The maximum is estimated to be about 66 which makes this the lowest Cycle since Cycle 14 in 1906.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!