Ash Update

With travel disruption likely to continue until tomorrow morning at the earliest, the ash cloud continues to dominate the news and twitter, via the #ashtag. An eruptions expert blogs here on the events. The UK’s main ash monitoring plane happens to be undergoing maintenance at the moment, but there is another one up keeping an eye on that stuff. Meanwhile ESA satellite images have provided an animation of the ash concentrations moving south-east. Not much seems to have hit here, but the glancing blow we did get seems to have produced some minor optical effects. Not quite “the most spectacular sunsets ever”, but an added tinge and the occasional solar halo.

Other things that may be visible as the Sun goes down (or thereafter) Venus, the Crescent Moon and the Pleiades all lined up in the west and possible meteor activity afterwards.

This Saturday is Earth day, which is quite lucky given everyone seems concerned with levels of a pollutant in the air at the moment. NASA’s doing events on the Washington Mall. ESA have pointed people towards its Earth Observation Webpage. To help with both that day and the ash at the moment, NASA have a page on different aerosols. Meanwhile, if you’re worried by how much CO2 the volcano is pumping out, don’t be, it is more than offset by the cancellation of European flights. European airspace is pumping out more than 200,000 tonnes less than before, and those flights still going are putting out more than the volcano.

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