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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 315.6 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
2251 UT Nov08
24-hr: B1
0239 UT Nov08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Nov 10
NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of X-class flares from sunspot 1121 during the next 24 hours. Credit: SDO/HMI. 2-day movie: 7 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 34
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Nov 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 07 Nov 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 85 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 07 Nov 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.2 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 08 Nov 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could brush past Earth's magnetic field around Nov. 10th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Nov 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
50 %
50 %
05 %
05 %
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 Nov 08 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Monday, Nov. 8, 2010
What's up in space

AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE


SOLAR ACTIVITY UPDATE: After unleashing one of the brightest X-ray flares in years on Saturday, Nov. 6th, sunspot 1121 took Sunday off. No strong flares were recorded for the rest of the weekend. Nevertheless, the active region's magnetic field is complex and harbors energy for more eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate an 85% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours.

NEW COMET IKEYA-MURAKAMI: Newly-discovered comet C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) is putting on a good show for anyone with a backyard telescope and an alarm clock. The clock is for getting up before dawn, and the telescope is for seeing this:

Leonid Elenin took the picture on Nov. 7th using a robotic telescope in New Mexico. "The comet is rapidly changing," he reports. "The shape of its atmosphere reminds me of Comet Holmes after it had an outburst in 2007."

Indeed, Comet Ikeya-Murakami might be experiencing a similar event. The icy visitor from the outer solar system made its closest approach to the sun (1.7 AU) in late October, so it has recently received a strong dose of solar heating. Ice pockets could be evaporating, comet-caverns collapsing, who knows?

Amateur astronomers are encouraged to monitor developments. Various reports put the brightness of the comet between 7th and 9th magnitude, invisible to the naked eye but an easy target for telescopes such as the Comet Hunter. It's easy to find, too, little more than a degree from Saturn in the eastern sky before dawn. Set your alarm and happy hunting! [Sky maps: Nov 8, 9, 10, 11] [3D orbit] [ephemeris]

more images: from Gil Esquerdo of Whipple Observatory, Mt. Hopkins, Arizona (Nov. 8); from Tenho Tuomi of Lucky Lake, SK, Canada (Nov. 7); from Gregg Ruppel of Ellisville, Missouri (Nov. 7); from Feys Filip of Crete, Greece (Nov. 6); from Gregg Ruppel of Ellisville, Missouri (Nov. 6); from Gregg Ruppel of Ellisville, Missouri (Nov. 5); from Luca Buzzi of the G.V. Schiaparelli Astronomical Observatory in Varese, Italy (Nov. 4);

M5 SOLAR FLARE: Active sunspot 1121 has unleashed one of the brightest x-ray solar flares in years, an M5.4-class eruption at 15:36 UT on Nov. 6th. Click on the image to view a movie of the blast from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

Radiation from the flare created a wave of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere that altered the propagation of low-frequency radio waves. There was, however, no bright CME (plasma cloud) hurled in our direction, so the event is unlikely to produce auroras in the nights ahead. This is the third M-flare in as many days from this increasingly active sunspot. So far none of the eruptions has been squarely Earth-directed, but this could change in the days ahead as the sun's rotation turns the active region toward our planet. Now might be a good time to sign up for space weather alerts.

more images: from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil; from Michael Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Andrew Phethean of Aberdeen UK

October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

  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 8, 2010 there were 1164potentially 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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