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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 342.1 km/sec
density: 2.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B6
1950 UT Oct09
24-hr: C1
1327 UT Oct09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Oct 11
A new sunspot is emerging at the circled location. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 61
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Oct 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 08 Oct 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 118 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Oct 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.9 nT
Bz: 0.0 nT
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 Oct 11
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 10-11. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Oct 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
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: 2011 Oct 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

DRACONID METEOR UPDATE: According to worldwide observers reporting to the International Meteor Organization, there was indeed an outburst of Draconid meteors on October 8th. Preliminary counts suggest a peak rate of 660 meteors per hour at 2010 UT (4:10 pm EDT).

Most Draconids in the outburst were faint, but not all. Göran Fredriksson photographed this fireball splitting the evening twilight over Örnsköldsvik, Sweden:

The meteor rate and overall faintness of the display was in good accord with predictions by leading forecasters such as Jeremie Vaubaillon of the Institute for Celestial Mechanics in France and analysts at NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

more images: from Jesper Grønne of Silkeborg Denmark; from Runar Sandnes of Reed, Norway; from Frank Martin Ingilæ of Tana, Finnmark, Norway; from Ronny Tertnes of Bergem, Norway; from Richard Klofac of Czech Republic, Zlechov; from Thomas Hagen of Oslo, Norway; from Adrian West of West Berkshire United Kingdom; from Pete Glastonbury of Devizes, Wiltshire, UK; from Jaromír Němec of Davle, Czech Republic

Draconid resources:

AURORAS IN THE CRYSTAL BALL: On Oct. 6th, Frank Olsen stood on the beach in Tromso, Norway, watching the Northern Lights as Earth's magnetic field reverberated from a CME impact one night earlier. He was so impressed with the display, he decided to photograph it through a crystal ball. Look to the lower right of the image for the fortune-teller's view:

"This wasn't a major outburst," he says, "but at times the auroras were quite bright."

And now for the fortune: Another display is in the offing. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth, due to arrive on Oct. 9-10. NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of geomagnetic storms. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

more images: from Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway; from Michel Tournay flying over South Dakota

September 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004]

TODAY'S BONUS SHOTS: Red Tide from Steve Shuey of San Diego, California Pale Halo from Jean-Paul Godard of Pic du Midi, France; Sunset Rays from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas; Meteors from Hal Yeager of Higden, Arkansas

  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, 2011 there were 1250 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 TP
Oct 4
7.4 LD
22 m
2002 AG29
Oct 9
77.1 LD
1.0 km
2011 TB4
Oct 10
5.2 LD
35 m
2011 SE97
Oct 12
7.9 LD
50 m
2011 SS25
Oct 12
69.3 LD
1.0 km
2000 OJ8
Oct 13
49.8 LD
2.3 km
2009 TM8
Oct 17
0.9 LD
8 m
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
175 m
1994 CK1
Nov 16
68.8 LD
1.5 km
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
1.1 km
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
1.5 km
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
1.0 km
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
80 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 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
Conquest Graphics
  for out-of-this-world printing and graphics
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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