NASA astronaut Megan McArthur took a picture of tropical storm Elsa on Sunday (July 4) as it was making its way through the Caribbean towards the coast of Florida.

The storm approached Jamaica and the south of Cuba on Monday morning (July 5), forcing the evacuation of 180,000 people. The storm is forecasted to hit Florida north of Tampa on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. With current wind speeds of 65 mph, Elsa has the potential to strengthen into a hurricane over the shallow and warm Caribbean waters, according to Accuweather. The storm previously briefly reached the intensity of a hurricane on Friday but has weakened over the weekend.

Tereza Pultarova
Wildfires in Canada triggered by heatwave seen from space
Wildfires in western Canada triggered by a recordbreaking heatwave captured by the Sentinel2 satellite.

Massive wildfires in western Canada triggered by a recordbreaking heatwave have been captured by the European Sentinel2 satellite on Thursday (July 1). Sentinel2 orbits Earth at the altitude of 490 miles (786 kilometers) but the wildfires were so massive that they could be seen even by satellites in the geostationary orbit 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) away from Earth, according to NOAA.

The fire in this image, near the town of Lytton in British Columbia some 125 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of Vancouver, broke out in the last days of June when temperatures were hitting recordbreaking 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). The blaze forced residents to leave their homes, many of which were later destroyed by the fire.

The massive plumes of smoke generated by the wildfires fuelled the formation of enormous thunderstorms, which at some point covered an area the size of England and reached 58,000 feet (17.5 kilometers) into the sky, Oxford University Research Fellow Simon Proud said on Twitter.

“Massive storms, sadly, have the potential to start more fires,” Proud said.
An earlier image acquired by Sentinel3 on June 27 showed that surface temperatures near Lytton reached 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) in the days before the fire broke out. Tereza Pultarova
Active sun could produce a giant flare
Three active region on the face of the sun photographed by the European Space Agency`s Proba 2 spacecraft.

Three active regions on the sun spotted by the European Space Agency`s (ESA) Proba 2 spacecraft can be seen in this image captured on Wednesday (June 30). ESA`s Space Weather Office said on Twitter the active region 12835 in the lower half of the image has a 24% probability of producing an M class solar flare, the second most powerful type of solar flare.

The amount of charged particles that M class solar flares release could cause brief radio blackouts and aurora borealis displays in Earth`s polar regions if they hit the planet. The image was obtained by the Sun Watcher using Active Pixel System detector and Image Processing (SWAP) telescope, which provides images of the sun`s outer atmosphere, the corona, at wavelengths of about 17.4 nanometers. This wavelength corresponds to temperatures of about 1 million degrees Celsius (1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit).

The extremely high temperatures of the sun`s corona, several orders of magnitude higher than the temperatures of the sun`s surface, are one of the biggest mysteries in solar physics. Tereza Pultarova

 

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