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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 301.6 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Nov29
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Nov29
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 29 Nov. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 6 day
2009 total: 249 days (75%)
Since 2004: 760 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 28 Nov 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
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.9 nT
Bz: 2.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Dec. 3rd or 4th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 29 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
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 Nov 29 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 29, 2009

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: Would you like a call when the space station is about to fly over your backyard? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.


EXTRATERRESTRIAL AURORAS: Lately, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring some lovely Northern Lights--on Saturn! Saturn's auroras tower 750 miles above the planet's atmosphere, forming a ring of shimmering light wider than Earth itself. Mission scientist Andy Ingersoll discusses the findings in a 40 MB video from NASA.

BIG SPACESHIP: It's wider than a football field, has more than 13,000 sq. ft. of living space, and weighs more than 760,000 Earth-pounds. On top of everything else, it looks great through a telescope. Behold the ISS:

Pete Lardizabal took these pictures on Nov. 28th when the space station flew over his backyard in St Johns, Florida. "I used a 130mm (5 inch) refracting telescope and a Canon 30D digital camera," he says.

No telescope is required, however, to enjoy the ISS. Human eyes do fine. The enormous spaceship reflects enough sunlight to outshine Jupiter or Venus, and it is easy to see in the night sky even from brightly-lit cities. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys of your home town.

more images: from Mustafa Erol of Antalya/Turkey; from Keith Geary of Shercock, Co.Cavan, Ireland;

FLORIDA SUN PILLAR: Last night, when the sun set over the panhandle of Florida, a luminous red column lept up from the western horizon. "It was the nicest sun pillar I've ever seen," days Dr. Wayne Wooten, who sends this picture from the campus of Pensacola Jr. College:

Sun pillars are caused by six-sided plate-shaped ice crystals fluttering down from cold clouds like leaves falling from trees. Air resistance causes the crystals' broad surfaces to line up in the horizontal direction. Sunlight reflecting from properly aligned crystals creates the pillar effect.

Ice crystals in Florida? The Sunshine State is supposed to be warm. Even in Florida, however, the air 5 to 10 km high is freezing cold, and that's where these ice crystals are located. People everywhere should be alert for sun pillars at sunrise and sunset. [more images]

November Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

2009 Leonid Meteor Gallery
[previous Leonids: 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006]

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 November 29, 2009 there were 1084 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UK14
Nov. 1
9.1 LD
29 m
2006 JY26
Nov. 2
6.7 LD
10 m
2000 XK44
Nov. 4
28.8 LD
1.1 km
2009 VA
Nov. 6
0.05 LD
6 m
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 VT1
Nov. 9
1.4 LD
6 m
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 m
2009 VX
Nov. 12
2.6 LD
26 m
2009 VR
Nov. 13
6.6 LD
10 m
2009 WQ6
Nov. 16
0.9 LD
7 m
2009 WX7
Nov. 16
3.7 LD
20 m
2009 VC1
Nov. 18
6.0 LD
21 m
2009 WJ6
Nov. 20
0.5 LD
14 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
  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 and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
  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...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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