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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 380.2 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2320 UT Sep30
24-hr: B6
0555 UT Sep30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Sept 10
Sunspot 1109 is slowly decaying and poses a diminishing threat for C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI. Resolutions: 4096, 1024, 512
Sunspot number: 51
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 29 Sep 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 41 days (15%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 809 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 29 Sep 2010


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 91 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 29 Sep 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.6 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 30 Sept 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Sep 30 2201 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
05 %
05 %
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 Sep 30 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 %
 
Thursday, Sep. 30, 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.

 

ROBOTS PLOT TO DESTROY SPITZER SPACE TELESCOPE: It must be true, because the video comes directly from the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech. Tune in here to see how power-hungry robots are plotting to destroy one of NASA's greatest observatories.

EMPTY ERUPTION: Yesterday, Sept. 29th around 0830 UT, a translucent filament of magnetism rose up from the sun's northeastern limb and erupted. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action. Click on the image to launch a five hour time-lapse movie--and keep an eye on the ghostly loop:


Movie formats: 2 MB gif, 2 MB mpeg, 1.3 MB iPad

This was an "empty eruption." It hurled no significant cloud of plasma into space. Imagine something exploding with more power than ten million atomic bombs and not producing a spray of debris. That's essentially what happened here. The erupting loop was made of more magnetism than matter.

One end of the loop was rooted near active region 1111, the location of a small but growing sunspot. Readers with solar telescopes might wish to keep an eye on the area for further developments.

A GIGANTIC JET NEAR KSC: You know what comes out of the bottom of a thunder storm--lightning. But do you know what comes out of the top? On Sept. 28th at 7:01 am EDT, Joel Gonzalez photographed a gigantic jet shooting up from a storm near NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Click on the image to watch the action--and turn up the volume for a crackling soundtrack:

Gigantic jets are lightning-like discharges that spring from the top of thunderstorms, reaching all the way from the thunderhead to the ionosphere 50+ miles overhead. They're enormous, powerful, and also fairly rare. The first one was discovered in 2001 by Dr. Victor Pasko in Puerto Rico. Since then only a few dozen have been recorded, almost always over open ocean.

"This storm was just north of the Kennedy Space Center over the Atlantic," notes Gonzalez. "It was daylight already when the jet decided to fire off! Because of this, a lot of detail was lost, but if you watch the movie closely you can see hints of streamers reaching up to the ionosphere."

Because they connect thunderstorms directly to the ionosphere, gigantic jets play some role in the global flow of electricity around our planet, but how big is that role? No one knows. Investigations of gigantic jets are considered cutting-edge.

Amateur astronomers, you can contribute to this research. Check your local weather radar map for storms just over the horizon, point your meteor cameras in that direction, and click. Gigantic jets may not be as rare as we think.


Sept. 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000]

  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 September 30, 2010 there were 1145 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2009 SH2
Sep 30
7.1 LD
24.9
45 m
2010 SK13
Sep 30
0.7 LD
27.5
14 m
1998 UO1
Oct 1
32.1 LD
16.6
2.1 km
2005 GE59
Oct 1
77 LD
18
1.1 km
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
16.9
1.8 km
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
14.6
5.3 km
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
16.7
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
40.6 LD
18.1
1.0 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
19.3
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
15.5
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
17.6
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
28.2
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
18.2
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
17.3
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
17.6
1.3 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
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
   
  more links...
 
 
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