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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 532.7 km/sec
density: 0.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B9
2057 UT Oct01
24-hr: M1
1000 UT Oct01
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Oct 11
Decaying sunspot 1302 poses a diminishing threat for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 89
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Sep 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 30 Sep 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 138 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 30 Sep 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 01 Oct 11
Solar wind flowing from this minor coronal hole should reach Earth on ~Oct. 3rd. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Oct 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
70 %
70 %
20 %
20 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2011 Oct 01 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
15 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011
What's up in space

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

Own your own meteorite

CHINESE SPACE STATION: On Thursday, China launched an experimental space station named Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace-1). The 8.5-ton module, about the size of a railroad car, will remain in orbit for two years as Chinese spacecraft perform rendevous and docking maneuvers, and Chinese astronauts visit for weeks at a time--all good practice for a larger outpost in the future. Check Spaceweather's Satellite Tracker for sighting opportunities. You can also turn your smartphone into a Tiangong-1 tracker by downloading the Simple Flybys app.

SUNDIVING COMET: A comet is diving into the sun today. Discovered on Sept. 29th by a group of four independent comet hunters (M. Kusiak, S. Liwo, B. Zhou and Z. Xu), the icy visitor from the outer solar system is evaporating furiously as it approaches the hot star. SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is monitoring the death plunge:

The doomed comet appears to be a member of the Kreutz family. Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a single giant comet many centuries ago. They get their name from 19th century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who studied them in detail. Several Kreutz fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most, measuring less than a few meters across, are too small to see, but occasionally a big fragment like this one attracts attention. [latest images]

POWER LINES: There's more to this picture of an urban sunset over São Carlos,, Brasil, than meets the eye. Beneath the image, photographer Gustavo Rojas discusses what's behind the power lines:

"The sun is the nearest star, and source of all energy that circulates in our planet," he says. "The electrical energy running through these power lines come from hydroelectric power plants where water move turbines; water can only exist in our planet because of the Sun's warmth. Ancient cultures worshipped the Sun, but modern man often forgets its intimate connection with life on Earth, which is smaller than the sunspots visible in this image."

For additional reminders, browse the aurora gallery:

September 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004]

TODAY'S BONUS SHOTS: Volcanic Sunset from Doug Zubenel of Fairway Park, Fairway, Kansas; October Comets from Enrico Colzani and Valter Giuliani of Italy; Mars in the Beehive from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; Sunspot Mirage from James W. Young of Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, Oregon

  Near Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On October 1, 2011 there were 1250 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 SC108
Sep 27
1.2 LD
12 m
2011 SO5
Sep 29
5.5 LD
34 m
2011 SM173
Sep 30
0.8 LD
12 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 SE97
Oct 12
7.9 LD
51 m
2011 SS25
Oct 12
69.4 LD
1.2 km
2000 OJ8
Oct 13
49.8 LD
2.4 km
2009 TM8
Oct 17
0.9 LD
8 m
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
175 m
1994 CK1
Nov 16
68.8 LD
1.5 km
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
1.1 km
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
1.5 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
  Essential web links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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