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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 276.9 km/sec
density: 4.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1954 UT Dec05
24-hr: B4
0530 UT Dec05
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 05 Dec 10
New sunspots 1132 and 1133 are crackling with minor B-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI. 2-day movie: 9 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 48
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 04 Dec 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (13%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 04 Dec 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 87 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 04 Dec 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 0.7 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 05 Dec 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Dec. 10th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Dec 05 2200 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: 2010 Dec 05 2200 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 %
Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
What's up in space

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


GREEN SNOW: Globally, Earth's magnetic field has been quiet this weekend, but in one corner of northern Canada the story was different. "Last night," reports
Francis Anderson, "the auroras here in Tuktoyaktuk of the Northwest Territories were so bright they cast shadows on the ground and [turned the snow green]!" The phenomenon is called a "substorm" and it gives reason for people of the North to keep an eye on the sky even when the global forecast calls for quiet--like now.

MAGNIFICENT FILAMENT: A dark magnetic filament more than 400,000 km long is snaking around the sun's southeastern limb. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed it rotating into view during the early hours of Dec. 4th:

In this extreme ultraviolet image, blues and yellows trace million-degree gas in the sun's atmosphere. Dense plasma bottled up inside the filament is about ten times cooler, so it appears dark in contrast to the hot atmosphere around it.

The arrival of the filament comes as no surprise. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft has been monitoring the filament for days as it approached the sun's horizon from behind. So far the massive structure has hovered quietly above the stellar surface, showing no signs of instability. How long can the quiet last? Long filaments like this one have been known to collapse with explosive results when they hit the stellar surface below. Stay tuned!

more images: from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Gianfranco Meregalli of Milano, Italy; from Francisco A. Rodriguez of Cabreja Mountain Observatory, Canary Islands; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas; from Earl Foster of Garland, TX; from Michael Boschat of Halifax, Nova Scotia;

RADIO STORM ON JUPITER: Astronomers have long known that Jupiter is a source of powerful shortwave radio bursts. "Last Sunday afternoon (Nov. 28) I received an alert from radio astronomer Wes Greenman in Florida that Jupiter was storming strongly," reports Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico. "Although it was 4 pm and the sun was still up, I swung my radio antenna towards Jupiter and tuned right into a crashing storm." Click on the image below to hear the alien sounds that emerged from the loudspeaker of Ashcraft's 21 MHz radio telescope:

Radio signals from Jupiter are not a sign of extraterrestrial intelligence. They occur naturally, caused by plasma instabilities in Jupiter's magnetosphere and fueled by powerful electric currents that flow between Jupiter and the volcanic moon Io. These radio bursts are so powerful, they can be picked up with simple antennas and receivers. Indeed, shortwave listeners often detect Jupiter by accident and don't even realize the origin of the crashing sounds they are hearing.

Readers, would you like to tune into Jupiter using your own radio telescope? Check out NASA's RadioJOVE program for instructions.

November 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 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 December 5, 2010 there were 1167 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
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.
  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
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
  more links...
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