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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 387.8 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B3
1910 UT Oct21
24-hr: B3
1910 UT Oct21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 21 Oct 10
All of the sunspots on the Earth-facing side of the sun are relatively stable and quiet. No big solar flares are expected in the next 24 hours. Credit: SOHO/MDI. 2-day movie: 9 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 61
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Oct 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (15%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 20 Oct 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 84 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 20 Oct 2010

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: 3.3 nT
Bz: 2.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 21 Oct 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 25th or 26th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Oct 21 2200 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: 2010 Oct 21 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
30 %
MINOR
01 %
15 %
SEVERE
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
35 %
MINOR
01 %
20 %
SEVERE
01 %
10 %
 
Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010
What's up in space
 

ON SALE NOW: The David H. Levy Comet Hunter -- offering the clearest views of Comet Hartley 2.

 

COMET HARTLEY 2 UPDATE: Comet Hartley 2 is now about 11 million miles from Earth, one of the closest approaches of any comet in the last few centuries. Unfortunately, the Moon is waxing full at the same time. Glaring moonlight will make the comet difficult to observe for the next week at least. Indeed, the next great shot you see might come from EPOXI.

SUNDIVING COMET: The solar system now has one less comet. Earlier today, a sundiving comet discovered on Oct. 19th by Chinese amateur astronomer Bo Zhou passed too close to the sun and apparently evaporated. A coronagraph onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded the death plunge:

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 big fragment like this one attracts attention.

ORIONID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is passing through a broad stream of debris from Halley's Comet, and this is causing the annual Orionid meteor shower. "The best time to look is during the hours before dawn on Thursday, Oct. 21st, and again on Friday, Oct 22nd," advises Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "Unfortunately, we have a bright Moon this year. Even so, I'd expect some bright Orionids to shine through the moonlight." An all-sky camera at the University of Western Ontario recorded this early Orionid fireball on Oct. 18th:

Orionid meteors stream from the elbow of Orion the Hunter: sky map. Because the shower's radiant point is close to the celestial equator, sky watchers in both hemispheres can enjoy the show. Moonlit meteor rates will probably be around a dozen per hour.

Radar rates could be much higher. The US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas is scanning the skies for satellites, space junk, and meteoroids. When an Orionid passes overhead--ping!--there is an echo. Moonlight does not interfere with this method of meteor observing, so it's perfect for this year's Orionids. Tune into Spaceweather Radio for live echoes.

Orionid images: from John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio; from Calvin Hall of Knik Valley, near Palmer Alaska; from Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech republic


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 October 21, 2010 there were 1155 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
18
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
18
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
14
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
20
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
16
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
18
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
13
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
15
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
15
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
15
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
12
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
14
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
17
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
21
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
16
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
-
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
13
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.
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
   
  more links...
 
 
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