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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 300.1 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2335 UT Oct09
24-hr: A0
0615 UT Oct09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2335 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Oct. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 7 days
2009 total: 219 days (78%)
Since 2004: 730 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 08 Oct 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Oct. 11th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Oct 09 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 Oct 09 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
October 9, 2009

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


LUNAR IMPACT--DUD OR MUD? NASA's water-seeking LCROSS spacecraft and its Centaur booster rocket hit the floor of crater Cabeus this morning, but they did not make the kind of bright flashes many observers had hoped for. Some observers went so far as to call the event "a dud." In Sacramento, California, amateur astronomer Ed Lomeli had his telescope trained on Cabeus and he recorded nothing but static lunar terrain:

"I was a little disappointed not seeing a flash and a plume. Maybe LCROSS hit mud!" he laughs. "I hope the spacecraft's cameras saw something we missed."

Indeed they did. When the Centaur hit the crater floor, infrared cameras onboard the LCROSS mothership recorded a flash of heat and spectrometers detected sodium in the debris cloud. The appearance of sodium was a surprise--perhaps the first of many to come from this unprecedented experiment. Mission scientists have not yet had a chance to fully examine the LCROSS spectra for signs of water, but "we will be working on this feverishly today," said mission leader Tony Colaprete at a post-impact NASA press conference.

The low brightness of the flash did not dim the enthusiasm of thousands of people around the world who stayed up late for lunar impact parties. At the Sci-Quest science museum in Huntsville, Alabama, about a hundred kids and parents gathered to watch the show. "We donned our party hats, blew our noise makers and waited for the impact," says science writer Dauna Coulter. NASA photographer David Higginbotham documented the scene:

"The actual footage was a bit of an anti-climax," notes Coulter, "but that didn't dampen the spirit of the attendees!"

amateur images: from Paul Schneider of Tucson, Arizona; from Ed Lomeli of Sacramento, California; from Mike Broussard of Maurice, Louisiana;

More Lunar Impact Resources:

Sept. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 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 October 9, 2009 there were 1075 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2001 CV26
Oct. 8
9.8 LD
2.2 km
2009 TJ
Oct. 13
10.8 LD
130 m
1999 AP10
Oct. 20
29.7 LD
2.7 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
  more links...
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