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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 369.5 km/sec
density: 4.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2345 UT Nov09
24-hr: A0
0205 UT Nov09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2345 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Nov. 09
Sunspot 1030, which faded away two days ago, seems to be re-emerging in the circled area. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Richard Best of Lewes, Sussex, England; from Lecoq Etienne of Mesnil-Panneville Normandy , France
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 2 days
2009 total: 239 days (77%)
Since 2004: 750 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 08 Nov 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals sunspot 1029 transiting the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.3 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT south
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 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 Nov 09 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 9, 2009

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


ATMOSPHERIC OPTICS EXHIBITION: The Boyden Gallery of St.Mary's College in Maryland is planning a major exhibition of atmospheric optics photos during the summer of 2010. Got images? The deadline for submissions is Nov. 30, 2009. Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley has the full story.

RETURNING SUNSPOT: The most active sunspot of the year, sunspot 1029, has spent the past week transiting the far side of the sun. It is still invisible from Earth, but the active region is coming into range of cameras onboard NASA's STEREO-B probe. The spacecraft beamed back this extreme ultraviolet image just hours ago:

A farside eruption on Nov. 5th (movie) suggests that the sunspot is still active. In late October, the last time we saw it on the Earth-facing side of the sun, sunspot 1029 unleashed more than 10 C-class solar flares, single-handedly quadrupling the total number of flares in all of 2009. The sun's rotation will turn the active region back toward Earth about four days from now. Until then, STEREO-B will keep us informed. Stay tuned.

BONUS: weekend solar images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands

WEEKEND FIREBALLS: On Saturday, Nov. 7th, just as the sun was setting over San Francisco Bay, a brilliant meteor glided across the sky and disappeared into the sunset. Witnesses say it was "slow-moving," "white and green," and that it left behind "a trail of smoke and sparkles of debris." The fireball was gone before most photographers had a chance to raise their cameras, but several people managed to capture the lingering trail of debris:

Gwen Wagy took this picture out the window of a car in Marina, Califonia. "The twisting trail resembled a noctilucent cloud," notes husband Chris.

Meteor expert Peter Jenniskens of NASA's Ames Research Center believes the fireball was "a small asteroid that crashed into our atmosphere. The remains [of the space rock] probably landed in the Pacific Ocean."

Another possibility is that the fireball was a piece of periodic Comet 2P/Encke. Every year around this time, Earth passes through a stream of debris from the comet, and the encounter causes meteors to shoot out of the constellation Taurus. "The Taurid shower is definitely active," notes Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "Our all-sky cameras have been picking up a couple of Taurid fireballs every night." At the time of the Bay Area fireball, the constellation Taurus was rising in the east, so a Taurid identification is not yet out of the question.

On the same night a few hours later, Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas, photographed a definite Taurid: movie. "I estimate its brightness at around magnitude -10 (almost 200 times brighter than Venus)." Sky watchers should be alert for more fireballs in the nights ahead as Taurid activity continues until at least Nov. 12th. The best time to look is during the hours around midnight when the constellation Taurus is high overhead: sky map.

more images: from Bryan Murahashi of Sunnyvale, California; from Rick Baldridge of Campbell, California; from Pepper De la Cruz of Half Moon Bay, California;

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 9, 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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