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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 353.3 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2341 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1703 UT Nov09
24-hr: M1
1335 UT Nov09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Nov 11
Sunspot 1339 is in a state of slow decay, but it still poses a threat for Earth-directed M-flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 160
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Nov 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 08 Nov 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 181 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Nov 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.9 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Nov 11
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Nov 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
70 %
70 %
10 %
10 %
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 Nov 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
25 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
20 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011
What's up in space

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

Satellite flybys

AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Nov. 10-11 when a coronal mass ejection could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. The source of the CME is a solar filament that erupted during the late hours of Nov. 7th. NOAA forecasters estimate a ~20% chance of polar geomagnetic storms. Auroras alerts: text, voice.

ASTEROID MOVIE: Scientists working with the 70-meter Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, have generated a short movie clip of asteroid 2005 YU55, which passed through the Earth-Moon system on Nov. 8th. These are the highest-resolution radar images ever obtained for a near-Earth object:

"The images achieve a resolution as fine as 3.75 meters and reveal a number of features that may be boulders on the surface, craters, and possibly ridges," says radar astronomer Lance Benner of JPL, principal investigator for the 2005 YU55 observations.

Better data are in the offing. This first movie covers only a ~2 hour span on Nov. 7th. On Nov. 8th, the asteroid was even closer, and the giant Arecibo radar is now gathering data, too. "To date, we've seen less than one half of the surface, so we expect more surprises," says Benner. Stay tuned!

amateur images: from David Cortner of Rutherford College, NC; from Ernesto Guido et al. using a remote-controlled telescope in New Mexico; from Thomas J Balonek of Hamilton, NY; from Mike Renzi of Lakeville, Massachusetts; from Chris Cook of Cape Cod, Massachusetts; from Steve Riegel of Albuquerque, NM;

BRIGHT CONJUNCTION: Last night, sky watchers around the world witnessed a conjunction between Jupiter and the Moon. "It was very nice sight seeing the two bright heavenly bodies so close together," says P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden, who photographed his daughter and a friend admiring the view:

The show's not over. The Moon and Jupiter are drifting apart but still less than 10o apart tonight. Look east after sunset for a conjunction so bright it shines through thin clouds and city lights.

more images: from Tamas Abraham of Zsambek, Hungary; from Geir Øye of Ørsta, Norway

October 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]

  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 November 9, 2011 there were 1256 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
400 m
2011 UT91
Nov 15
9.9 LD
109 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
1.6 km
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
1.0 km
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
80 m
2011 SL102
Dec 28
75.9 LD
1.1 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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