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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 273.6 km/sec
density: 2.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Nov07
24-hr: A0
1410 UT Nov07
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 07 Nov. 09
Sunspot 1030 has faded away, leaving the sun blank. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 237 days (77%)
Since 2004: 748 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 06 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: 4.1 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 07 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 07 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 7, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


ASTEROID NEAR MISS: On Nov. 6th at 2132 UT, asteroid 2009 VA barely missed Earth when it flew just 14,000 km above the planet's surface. That's well inside the "Clarke Belt" of geosynchronous satellites. If it had hit, the ~6-meter wide space rock would have disintegrated in the atmosphere as a spectacular fireball, causing no significant damage to the ground. 2009 VA was discovered just 15 hours before closest approach by astronomers working at the Catalina Sky Survey.

MAGNETIC FILAMENT: Today, amateur astronomers are monitoring a picturesque magnetic filament looping around the western limb of the sun. Jan Timmermans sends this picture from his backyard observatory in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands:

The portion of the filament seen in front of the sun looks dark, because it is cooler than the inferno below. But note how the filament glows in projection against the black space beyond the limb. The glow comes from plasma trapped inside the filament--not as bright as the surface of the sun, but definitely brighter than the void.

"The image clearly shows that the only difference between a 'dark' filament and a 'bright' prominence is where they are located: inside or outside the solar disk," notes Timmermans. (diagram)

more images: from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky;

COMPLETE FOGBOW: On Oct. 24th, Mila Zinkova of San Francisco took an early morning stroll along the beach. As her shadow stretched across the damp sand, a ghostly white ring surrounded the dark form. "It was a 360o fogbow--a very special sight," she says.

Fogbows are close cousins of rainbows. The difference is droplet size. Rainbows appear when sunlight bounces in and out of large raindrops. The same type of reflection produces a fogbow, except fog droplets are much smaller. Small droplets don't separate the colors of sunlight as widely as large raindrops do. In a fogbow, therefore, the colors are smeared together, producing a ghostly-white arc.

"Nearby I saw a spiderweb," adds Zinkova. "The whole web was covered with tiny fog droplets, the droplets that made fogbow possible."

Only one question remains: Why is the fogbow a complete circle? Most fogbows, like rainbows, display only their upper half. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley has the answer: "All fogbows would like to be a full circle centered on your shadow, but usually there are insufficient tiny fog droplets near the ground to make a bow bright enough to see. Here the dark background helps to reveal it. "

October Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

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 7, 2009 there were 1077 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UW87
Oct. 31
1.6 LD
11 m
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
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 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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