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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: 291.1 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Oct19
24-hr: A0
0550 UT Oct19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Oct. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 17 days
2009 total: 228 days (79%)
Since 2004: 739 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 18 Oct 2009

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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.8 nT
Bz: 2.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Solar wind streams flowing from the indicated coronal holes could reach Earth on Oct. 22nd or 23rd. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Oct 19 2201 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: 2009 Oct 19 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
October 19, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

 

METEORS FROM HALLEY'S COMET: The Orionid meteor shower, caused by debris from Halley's comet, peaks this week. Forecasters expect dozens of meteors per hour during the dark hours before sunrise on Wednesday, Oct. 21st. Science@NASA has the full story. Orionid meteor galleries: 2006, 2008

ROCKET FUEL DUMP: A Centaur rocket caused a minor sensation on Sunday night, Oct. 18th, when it flew over Europe and dumped a load of excess propellant. "We saw it at 9:15 pm local time (1915 UT)," report Federico and Chiara Bellini of Bodio Lomnago, Italy. "It looked like a comet with a fan-shaped tail." They took this 30-second exposure using a Nikon D70s:

"About 20 seconds later, a second object appeared." That was a US military weather satellite (DMSP F-18), which the Centaur booster had helped launch earlier in the evening from Vandenberg, Air Force Base in California. "And then," the Bellinis continue, "a big circular halo followed the two across the sky." The halo, shown here in a movie recorded by Jonas Förste of Jakobstad, Finland, was probably an expanding puff of gas emitted during an earlier firing of the Centaur.

more images: from Marko Posavec of Koprivnica, Croatia; from Davide Trezzi of Varenna, Italy; from Vince Tuboly of Hegyhátsál, Hungary; from Quentin D. of le Havre, Normandy, France; from Feys Filip of the Sasteria public observatory, Crete

LUNAR IMPACT PLUME: There was a plume after all. Observers on Earth had their doubts after LCROSS and its Centaur booster rocket hit the Moon on Friday, Oct. 9th. The twin lunar impacts failed to produce visible plumes of debris, prompting speculation that something had gone wrong. On the contrary, members of the LCROSS science team are now calling the experiment "a smashing success."

Fifteen seconds after the Centaur hit the shadowy floor of crater Cabeus, the LCROSS spacecraft flying 600 km overhead took the following picture of a plume measuring 6 to 8 km wide:

"There is a clear indication of a plume of vapor and fine debris," says LCROSS principal investigator Tony Colaprete of NASA/Ames. "The ejecta brightness appears to be at the low end of our predictions and this may be a clue to the properties of the material the Centaur hit."

Nine cameras and spectrometers on LCROSS captured every phase of the Centaur's impact: the intial flash, the debris plume, and the creation of the Centaur's crater. "We are blown away by the data returned," says Colaprete. "The team is working hard on the analysis and the data appear to be of very high quality."

But did the impact reveal any water at the bottom of Cabeus? The LCROSS team isn't ready to say yet. Combining their data with those of other observatories and analyzing the full dataset could take weeks. According to NASA, "any new information will undergo the normal scientific review process and will be released as soon as it is available."

For more information, read NASA's Oct. 16th press release and browse the gallery of images.


Sept. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001]


Explore the Sunspot Cycle

       
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 19, 2009 there were 1078 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2001 CV26
Oct. 8
9.8 LD
13
2.2 km
2009 TJ
Oct. 13
10.8 LD
18
130 m
2009 TM8
Oct. 17
0.9 LD
17
10 m
2009 TF8
Oct. 17
7.6 LD
19
20 m
2009 TH8
Oct. 19
4.5 LD
18
45 m
2009 UE
Oct. 19
2.5 LD
19
40 m
2009 UD
Oct. 20
2.0 LD
17
17 m
1999 AP10
Oct. 20
29.7 LD
13
2.7 km
2009 TO8
Oct. 21
7.4 LD
19
27 m
2009 UJ
Oct. 22
6.8 LD
19
25 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 Weather Prediction Center
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Atmospheric Optics
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Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
   
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