NASA PREPARES ARTIFICIAL CLOUD DISPLAY (UPDATED): Monday's launch of a sounding rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia was postponed because of weather. NASA plans to try again on Tuesday, June 13th. Sometime between 9:04 and 9:19 p.m. Eastern Time, the Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket will blast off and release a network of red and blue-green vapors more than 100 miles high. Tracking the motions of the colorful gases will help researchers study the dynamics of Earth's ionosphere. The vapor tracers may be visible from New York to North Carolina and westward to Charlottesville, Virginia. Free: Aurora Alerts
ANTARCTIC MOONDOGS: At Germany's Neumayer III Research Station in Antarctica, the polar night began on May 21st and no one has seen the sun in weeks. "Hence, I could not believe my eyes on June 12th when I opened the station's weather monitor and suddenly could see a sundog," reports Stefan Christmann, who is visiting as part of a BBC film crew working on a documentary about emperor penguins. "I quickly grabbed my camera, got dressed and ran outside." This is what he saw:
As the waning full Moon rose behind the station, it shone through crystals of ice floating above the frozen terrain. These crystals bent and shaped the moonbeams into moondogs, a moon pillar and even an upper tangent arc.
"In combination with a clear and starry sky, this was quite the sight," says Christmann. "Antarctica is an awesome place, full of little miracles and incredible nature - this needed to be shared with every space weather enthusiast." (Agreed!)