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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 402.1 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct31
24-hr: A0
1340 UT Oct31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Oct 07
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Oct 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Updated: 2007 Oct 31 2127 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.7 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun today. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Oct 31 2203 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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: 2007 Oct 31 2203 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
October 31, 2007
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

HIGH ATMOSPHERE: Space weather enthusiasts will enjoy a new web site composed by atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley: "High Atmosphere" explains the physics and fascination of airglow, rocket trails, gravity waves and much more. Enjoy!

TRICK OR TREAT: Astronomers around the world agree. Exploding Comet 17P/Holmes is one of the strangest things they've ever seen. Little did they know...

Last night, astrophotographer Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY, took a close-up picture of the comet's core. "A strong deconvolution filter followed by multiple passes of unsharp mask and gaussian blur reveals startling new structure in comet 17P/Holmes." Here it is:

Trick or treat!

Would you like to see the comet behind the mask? Look north after sunset for an expanding fuzzball in the constellation Perseus: sky map. Comet Holmes is about as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper, easy to see with the unaided eye and a spellbinding target for backyard telescopes.

Comet 17P/Holmes Photo Gallery
[New: Interactive World Map of Comet Photos]
[sky map] [ephemeris] [3D orbit] [Night Sky Cameras]

SPOOKY ASTRONOMY: Halloween is date of astronomical interest. It has to do with seasons: Halloween is a cross-quarter date, approximately midway between an equinox and a solstice. There are four cross-quarter dates throughout the year, and each is a minor holiday: Groundhog Day (Feb. 2nd), May Day (May 1st), Lammas Day (Aug. 1st), and Halloween (Oct. 31st).

"Long ago, the Celts of the British Isles used cross-quarter days to mark the beginnings of seasons. Winter began with Halloween, or as they called it, Samhain," says John Mosley of the Griffith Observatory. "Halloween marked the transition between summer and winter, light and dark -- and life and death. On that one night, according to folklore, those who had died during the previous year returned for a final visit to their former homes. People set out food and lit fires to aid them on their journey -- but remained on guard for mischief the spirits might do."

And so something astronomical became something spooky. It's not the first time. Happy Halloween!

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 31, 2007 there were 894 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct.-Nov. 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2007 TL16
Oct. 5
1.6 LD
16
27 m
2007 TC14
Oct. 18
11.7 LD
17
180 m
2340 Hathor
Oct. 22
23.3 LD
16
620 m
2005 GL
Nov. 8
8.0 LD
16
280 m
1989 UR
Nov. 24
27.6 LD
15
880 m
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 Links
NOAA Space Environment Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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