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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 697.2 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2135 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct02
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Oct02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Oct 08
The sun is blank -- no sunspots . Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Sept. 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= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.1 nT
Bz: 1.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2136 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Oct 02 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: 2008 Oct 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
October 2, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of August 9th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

HOW ROUND IS THE SUN? Scientists using NASA's RHESSI spacecraft have measured the roundness of the sun with unprecedented precision, and they find that it is not a perfect sphere. During years of high solar activity the sun develops a thin "cantaloupe skin" that significantly increases its apparent oblateness: full story.

SUNSET SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. You'll see Venus and the crescent moon beaming through the rosy glow of sunset. It's a beautiful way to end the day: sky map.

GREEN SKIES: The solar wind is blowing and arctic skies are turning green. "With temperatures dropping to 23 degrees F, I decided to sit inside during this 21-minute exposure on Oct. 1st," says photographer Jack Carlson of Fort Greely, Alaska:

Photo details: Canon 30D, 15mm lens, f5.6, 1244 seconds

"As you can see, auroras are building in the northeast while our planet rotates on its axis, creating a vortex of star trails around Polaris."

NOAA forecasters estimate a 30%-40% chance of continued geomagnetic activity tonight. Sky watchers from Scandinavia to Alaska should remain alert for auroras.

Sept. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night Sky Cameras]

FATHER AND SUN: The face of the sun has been remarkably blank lately, but the edge is a different story. Astronomers have been monitoring some of the best prominences in years. Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas, calls this one Father and Sun:

Click on the image to play the movie; DivX required

The image is just one frame of a must-see movie. To watch it, first download the free DivX encoder, then click here.

"The prominence was magnificent--one of the biggest I've seen in years," says Alvarez, who recorded the action using a Coronado 90mm H-alpha filter. "It was raining plasma throughout the 2-hour, 15-minute video."

more information: Polar Crown Prominences from Science@NASA

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 2, 2008 , there were 986 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Sept. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2003 WT153
Sept. 7
5.8 LD
11 m
1996 HW1
Sept. 12
53 LD
3.7 km
2003 SW130
Sept. 19
8.6 LD
7 m
1998 UO1
Sept. 26
25 LD
2.0 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.
  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, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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