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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 725.0 km/sec
density: 0.6 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2206 UT Nov14
24-hr: C1
0001 UT Nov14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Nov 10
Sunspot 1124 continues to grow and could soon pose a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI. 2-day movie: 9 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 63
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 Nov 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 13 Nov 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 85 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 13 Nov 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.0 nT
Bz: 4.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 14 Nov 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on Nov. 16th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Nov 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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: 2010 Nov 14 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
50 %
45 %
20 %
15 %
10 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
50 %
50 %
30 %
20 %
15 %
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
What's up in space

iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.


AURORA WATCH: NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of geomagnetic storms on Nov. 15th when one or more CMEs are expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

SUNDIVING COMET: The solar system has one less comet today after one of the dirty snowballs swung past the sun--a little too close--and did not survive. Click on the image to view a movie of the death plunge:

Japanese comet hunter Masanori Uchina first noticed the sundiver in coronagraph images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on Nov. 13th. At the time it was a dim and distant speck, but it rapidly brightened on Nov. 14th as it approached the hot sun. Now it just a dissipating haze of vapor and comet dust.

The comet was likely a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments are thought to pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see but occasionally a bigger fragment like this one attracts attention.

EVENING SKY SHOW: A big bright spaceship is flying through the evening skies of North America this weekend. It's the International Space Station. David Blanchard caught the behemoth soaring over Flagstaff, Arizona, on Saturday night:

"What a fabulous flyby," says Blanchard. "The ISS streaked past Mizar in Ursa Major -- located just above the trees -- then on to Polaris, the North Star. In the foreground, the waters of the Kachina Wetlands reflected the last light of twilight while the San Francisco Peaks towered in the distant north."

Readers, a scene like this could be in your future if you know when to look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times--or turn your cell phone into a field-tested ISS tracker.

more images: from Christopher Calubaquib of El Sobrante, California; from Richard Glenn of Gold Beach, OR

October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

  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 14, 2010 there were 1164potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
2.1 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
  more links...
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Fine astrophotography and gift cards by Alan Friedman outreach, imaging, and reviews
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