Space Weather News for July 8, 2009
WHAT'S FOLLOWING THE ISS? Sky watchers are reporting a "mysterious satellite" following the International Space Station (ISS). It trails the ISS by about one minute, relatively faint, but definitely there.
Mystery solved: The follower is Progress 33, a Russian supply ship. On July 12, it will come within meters of the space station to test a new automated docking system. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times and get two spaceships for the price of one.
BLUE MOON OVER IRAN: Blue moons are not a myth. This week, sky watchers in Iran have seen them appear in the night sky. The full Moon is turning blue because of a major dust storm blowing across the Middle East. Today's edition of SpaceWeather News features space-based images of the behemoth storm, the blue moons it is causing, and an explanation of the phenomenon.
SUNSPOT UPDATE: The first big sunspot of new Solar Cycle 24 is growing again. So far, sunspot 1024 poses no threat for major eruptions, but it is a big, photogenic target for backyard solar telescopes. Readers who would like instant notification of solar flares and geomagnetic storms can get them by signing up for SpaceWeather PHONE.