You are viewing the page for Oct. 5, 2011
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 429.4 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B8
2237 UT Oct05
24-hr: C9
1242 UT Oct05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Oct 11
With eight active regions on the Earthsde of the sun, the chances of an Earth-directed eruption are increasing. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 126
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Oct 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 04 Oct 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 130 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Oct 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 12.2 nT
Bz: 9.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Oct 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 9th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Oct 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
40 %
01 %
01 %
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 05 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
20 %
25 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
45 %
25 %
30 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 5th at approximately 0700 UT, sparking minor geomagnetic storms around both poles. Shortly after the CME's impact, Minoru Yoneto photographed an outburst of auroras over Queenstown, New Zealand:

"It was very good timing to shoot these Southern Lights just as the bright Moon was setting," says Yoneto. "[To the naked eye, the lights were faint], but a 30-second exposure with my digital camera set to ISO1600 revealed their beauty."

High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field continues to reverberate. Plus, according to NOAA forecasters, one or two more CMEs may be on the way to keep the storm going. Storm alerts: text, voice.

FARSIDE CME: Yesterday, October 4th, something exploded on the far side of the sun and propelled a spectacular CME into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the cloud as it emerged from behind the sun's limb:

Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab have combined observations from SOHO and the twin STEREO spacecraft to calculate the CME's trajectory: It is heading for Mercury. The CME will hit the innermost planet on Oct. 5th around 04:30 UT plus minus 7 hours. Energetic particles accelerated by shock waves at the leading edge of the cloud could also have minor effects on the MESSENGER probe in orbit around Mercury. The CME's forecast track shows that Venus might also receive a blow on Oct. 6th.

TIANGONG-1 SIGHTINGS: China's first space station, an 8.5-ton experimental module named Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace-1), is flying over the United States this week. Last night, Tavi Greiner saw it gliding over Shallotte, North Carolina:

"The Tiangong 1 passed between Cygnus and Cassiopeia shortly after sunset," says Greiner. "It was surprisingly bright, easily seen with the unaided eye."

Readers, check Spaceweather's Satellite Tracker for sighting opportunities in your hometown. You can also turn your smartphone into a Tiangong-1 tracker by downloading the Simple Flybys app.

more images: from Jim Saueressig II of Burlington, Kansas; from Justin Cowart of Carbondale, Illinois; from Stuart McDaniel of Lawndale, North Carolina; from Giuseppe of Fisciano, Italy

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

  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 5, 2011 there were 1250 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 TP
Oct 4
7.4 LD
22 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 TB4
Oct 10
5.2 LD
35 m
2011 SE97
Oct 12
7.9 LD
50 m
2011 SS25
Oct 12
69.3 LD
1.1 km
2000 OJ8
Oct 13
49.8 LD
2.3 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
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
1.0 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...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2013 All rights reserved.