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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 317.1 km/sec
density: 1.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1736 UT Nov06
24-hr: M1
0635 UT Nov06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Nov 11
Sunspot 1339 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 135
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 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 04 Nov 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 164 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Nov 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.8 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 06 Nov 11
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Nov 06 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
70 %
70 %
CLASS X
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 06 2200 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 %
 
Sunday, Nov. 6, 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

ASTEROID FLYBY: NASA radars are monitoring 2005 YU55, an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier, as it heads for a Nov. 8th flyby of the Earth-Moon system. There is no danger to our planet. At closest approach on Tuesday at 3:28 pm PST (23:28 UT), the 400m-wide space rock will be 324,600 kilometers away, about 85% the distance from Earth to the Moon.

Professional astronomers are eagerly anticipating the flyby as the asteroid will present an exceptionally strong radar target. Powerful transmitters at Goldstone and Arecibo will ping the space rock as it passes by, revealing the asteroid's shape and texture in crisp detail, and pinpointing its orbit for future flyby calculations. A movie from JPL explains:

Asteroids this big have passed by Earth at similar distances many times before, but this is the first time astronomers have known about the flyby in advance. For instance, a similar encounter occurred in 1976 when 2010 XC15 split the distance between Earth and the Moon. Researchers didn't discover that space rock until 24 years after the flyby. The Nov. 8, 2011, passage of 2005 YU55 thus represents a rare opportunity for asteroid research.

Experienced amateur astronomers should be able to photograph 2005 YU55 as it zips through the constellations Aquila and Pegasus glowing like an 11th magnitude star. Even under the full moonlight of Nov. 8th, such a bright asteroid is within reach of mid-sized backyard telescopes. The timing of the flyby favors observers in western Europe and eastern parts of North America. Check Sky & Telescope for observing tips or go straight to JPL for the object's ephemeris.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Sunspot AR1339 is crackling with M-class solar flares, unleashing at least five of them in the past 24 hours. The blasts have been coming with such thick frequency that photographer Randy Shivak of Elyria, Ohio, was able to catch one in action on Nov. 5th:

"Looking like iron filings around a bar magnet, sunspot group 1339 showed itself in the throes of a solar flare," says Shivak.

Even bigger eruptions are possible before the weekend is over. AR1339 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class flares. The sunspot is turning toward Earth, so the odds of a geoeffective flare are increasing. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Sheri Lynn Karl of Aberdeen, Scotland; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Lyrics of Shiqi, Shiqiao, Panyu district, Guangzhou, China; from Juerg Alean of Eglisau, Switzerland; from Andrew Neilson of Glasgow, Scotland, UK; from Dennis Simmons of Brisbane, Qld, Australia; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY; from Dennis Put of Brielle, The Netherlands; from Michael Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Sternwarte Riesa of Riesa, Saxony, Germany; from Paul Evans of Larne, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland;

NORTHERN LIGHTS: On Friday night, sky watchers in Scandinavia witnessed a vivid display of green auroras. It was so bright, even the rocks and water got involved:

"After weeks with rain and overcast, it was good to see the auroras again," says photographer Helge Mortensen of Kvaløya, Norway. "An exposure time of only 4 to 5 seconds was sufficient to reveal the water's green cast."

The display was caused by the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), which tipped south and partially canceled Earth's own north-pointing field. This created a crack in Earth's magnetosphere; solar wind flowed in to fuel the auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Ole C. Salomonsen of Tromsø, Norway, from Frank Olsen of Blokken, Norway; from Sindre Nedrevåg of Bodoe, Norway; from the DMSP F18 satellite in Earth orbit


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 6, 2011 there were 1256 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
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.
STEREO
  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
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
Trade Show Displays
   
  more links...
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