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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 354.3 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2120 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
1755 UT Oct09
24-hr: B2
1755 UT Oct09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Oct 10
There are no sunspots on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/HMI. 2-day movie: 7 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Oct 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 4 days
2010 total: 45 days (16%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
explanation | more info
Updated 08 Oct 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 75 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Oct 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.8 nT
Bz: 0.6 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2121 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 Oct 10
A minor solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole could hit Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 9th and 10th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Oct 09 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 Oct 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
25 %
01 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
30 %
01 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
Saturday, Oct. 9, 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


FARSIDE BLAST: Old sunspot 1109 on the farside of the sun erupted during the late hours of Oct 8th, producing a CME and a solar tsunami. NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft recorded this movie of the blast. Earth will not be affected by these events.

NORTHERN LIGHTS FROM SPACE: A thin band of aurora borealis is running around the Arctic Circle. Click here to see it. Low-light cameras onboard the US military's DMSP F18 weather satellite photographed the display on Oct. 8th, and Paul McCrone of the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Monteray, California, processed the data for This is not a major event, but it is a photogenic one from 450 miles overhead.

SDO SEES MOUNTAINS ON THE MOON: On Oct. 7th, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory observed its first lunar transit when the new Moon passed directly between the spacecraft and the sun. SDO's 16 megapixel cameras recorded the event in detail, revealing jagged lunar mountains backlit by solar plasma:

Beyond the novely of observing a such an event from space, these images have practical value to the SDO science team. Karel Schrijver of Lockheed-Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab explains: "The very sharp edge of the lunar limb allows us to measure the in-orbit characteristics of the telescope--e.g., light diffraction on optics and filter support grids. We can use that information to correct our data for instrumental effects and sharpen up the images to even more detail."

Ralph Seguin, also of Lockheed-Martin, has prepared a movie of the transit which shows the Moon interrupting an eruption on the sun's northwestern horizon. Watch it again. Did you notice the brief blackout near the beginning of the movie? That was the Earth passing in front of the sun just before the Moon did--a double solar eclipse!

COMET HARTLEY AND THE DOUBLE CLUSTER: Comet 103P/Hartley 2 continues to put on a good show as it approaches Earth for an 11-million-mile close encounter on Oct. 20th. Last night it passed by the Double Cluster in Perseus. The contrast between the blue stars of the two clusters and the green atmosphere of the comet was remarkable:

Image credit: Michael Jäger of Stixendorf, Austria. [details]

Most observers agree that the comet is not yet visible to the naked eye, but it is an easy target for backyard telescopes. In recent nights, astronomers have enjoyed watching Comet Hartley 2 pass a succession of stars and deep-sky objects such as the Pacman nebula and the Double Cluster. Next up is eta Persei (η Per), a 4th-magnitude star that will shine through the comet's atmosphere on Oct 9th and 10th. Details and a sky map are available from from Sky & Telescope.

more images: from Mike Broussard of Maurice, Louisiana; from David A Harvey of Tucson, Arizona; from Tamás Ábrahám of Zsámbék, Hungary; from Nick Howes using the 2 Metre Faulkes North Telescope in Hawaii; from Dr Paolo Candy of Ci.A.O. Cimini Astronomical Observatory - Italy; from Parks Squyres of SaddleBrooke, Arizona; from Gregg Ruppel of Ellisville, MO; from Geir Øye of Ørsta, Norway; from Mohammad Rahimi of Honjan - Esfahan - Iran; from Joe Wheelock of McDonald Observatory, Texas; from Alex Roca of Hortoneda Lleida Spain; from Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway; from Ehsan Rostamizadeh of Kerman, Iran; from Stefano Moretti of Ravenna, Italy; from Florin Marc of Tg.Mures, Romania;

Sept. 2010 Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 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 October 9, 2010 there were 1149 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
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
38 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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