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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 547.5 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct31
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Oct31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Oct 08
New sunspot 1007 belongs to Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 13
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 31 Oct. 2008
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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2257 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Oct 31 2201 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: 2008 Oct 31 2201 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
20 %
10 %
MINOR
05 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
October 31, 2008
BEHOLD THE SUN: Would you like to see fiery prominences and new-cycle sunspots with your own eyes? On sale now: Personal Solar Telescopes.  

SPOOKY SKIES: It must be Halloween. A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field, stirring up ghostly auroras around the Arctic Circle. Meanwhile, Venus and the Moon are converging for a spooky conjunction at sunset. It's a boo-utiful view! Get the full story and a sky map from Science@NASA.

BONUS: In an entertaining Youtube video, NASA takes a look back to the Halloween Storms of 2003: watch it!

NEW-CYCLE SUNSPOT: A sunspot is emerging in the sun's northern hemisphere and it appears to be a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Sunspot 1007 is located at high latitude, as new-cycle sunspots always are, and it has the magnetic polariity expected of a Cycle 24 active region:

This is the fourth time in October that a new-cycle sunspot has breached the sun's surface. (The previous three occasions were Oct. 4th, 11th and 17th.) In a year of almost no sunspots, four in a single month is a large number, and their association with the new solar cycle is significant. It is a sign that the sun is beginning a slow ascent out of solar minimum to a more active phase in the months and years ahead. Solar minimum is not a permanent condition!

Readers, if you have a solar telescope, train it on sunspot 1007 to witness a sign of things to come.

more images: from J. Fairfull and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Pavol Rapavy of Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky;

COLORADO FIREBALL: What are the odds? On Oct. 28th at 7:29 pm Mountain Daylight Time, a random meteoroid hit Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated with the luminosity of a full Moon. The impact, which could've happened anywhere, took place directly above an all-sky video camera in Guffey, Colorado:


Click to view videos of the fireball

"I've received more than 100 eyewitness reports," says astronomer Chris Peterson, who operates the camera as part of a nightly fireball monitoring program. Combining the data at hand, he estimates that "the meteor had a ground path about 170 miles long and traveled from east to west at 34 km/s (76,000 mph)."

"I was lucky enough to see it myself from inside my house through a window," adds Thomas Ashcraft. What's amazing about that is he was located 300 miles away in New Mexico. "It was brilliant turquoise and green and lasted more than nine seconds." Ashcraft is an amateur radio astronomer and his receivers picked up echoes of distant TV transmitters bouncing off the fireball's ionized trail: listen.

Using a computer model of Earth's meteoroid environment, Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center calculates that fireballs this bright come along once every five months or so. Rarely, however, are they witnessed. About 70% of all fireballs streak over uninhabited ocean while half appear during the day, invisible in sunny skies. To catch one in the crosshairs of a meteor camera on a dark albeit cloudy night is good luck indeed.


UPDATED: 2008 Orionid Meteor Gallery
[IMO meteor counts] [2006 Orionids]

       
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 31, 2008 there were 995 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 QS11
Oct. 2
11 LD
14
470 m
2008 SH148
Oct. 4
5.8 LD
19
26 m
2005 GN59
Oct. 6
20 LD
15
1.4 km
2008 TC3
Oct. 7
IMPACT
-13
3 m
2008 TZ
Oct. 10
5.3 LD
18
37 m
1999 VP11
Oct. 16
72 LD
17
860 m
2001 UY4
Oct. 18
74 LD
17
1.1 km
Comet Barnard-Boattini
Oct. 21
75 LD
16
unknown
2008 UM1
Oct. 22
0.2 LD
22
2 m
2008 TT26
Oct. 23
3.6 LD
15
70 m
2000 EX106
Oct. 23
69 LD
18
1.1 km
2005 VN
Oct. 29
4.1 LD
15
116 m
2008 TX3
Nov. 1
9 LD
19
45 m
4179 Toutatis
Nov. 9
20 LD
14
3.8 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 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.
STEREO
  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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
   
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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