|What's up in Space|| |
June 26, 2009
VOLCANIC PLUME: An enormous plume of sulfur dioxide (SO2) blasted into the stratosphere by Russia's Sarychev Peak volcano on June 12th is circumnavigating the globe at northern latitudes. Check out this movie made by the GOME-2 sensor onboard Europe's MetOp-A satellite. SO2 is drifting across the North Atlantic and appears poised to reach Europe over the next 48 hours. Sky watchers there should be alert for volcanic sunsets.
VOLCANIC SUNSET: On June 22nd, photographer Brian Whittaker was flying 35,000 feet above Nunavut, Canada, when he witnessed "the most spectacular sunset that I have ever seen," he says. "The giant volcanic cloud from Russia's Sarychev Peak [see below] was illuminated by the arctic sun--and this completely transformed the landscape. For a moment, I thought I was on Mars."
This was the view from the window seat:
"All the curtains were drawn so that people could sleep which is very normal," notes Whittaker. "It is possible that very few people have seen this despite all the potential observers!"
Whittaker's airplane traveled all the way from British Columbia to Europe, so he got a good long look at the cloud. "It stretched for more than 4,000 kilometers. Will it reach Europe?" he wonders. Stay tuned for updates.