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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 365.2 km/sec
density: 0.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2323 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B1
1842 UT Nov09
24-hr: B3
1400 UT Nov09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Nov 10
Sunspot 1121 is decaying, but it still has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class flares. Credit: SDO/HMI. 2-day movie:9 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 36
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 08 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 08 Nov 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 84 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 08 Nov 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.1 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 Nov 10
There are no large coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Nov 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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 Nov 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Tuesday, Nov. 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


INTERNATIONAL SPACE WEATHER INITIATIVE: Prompted by a recent increase in solar activity, more than a hundred researchers and government officials are converging on Helwan, Egypt, this week to discuss the peril of storms from the sun. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

COMET OUTBURST: Comet Ikeya-Murakami (C/2010 V1) is definitely undergoing an outburst event. Italian astronomers Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero assembled the following animation from images they obtained between Nov. 4th and Nov 9th:

The sequence clearly shows an explosion in progress. "Only Nov. 7th is missing," they say, "because of rare cloudy skies over New Mexico, where the remotely-controlled telescope we used is located."

Another New Mexico observer, Leonid Elenin, estimates the size of comet's expanding atmosphere as 4x6 arcminutes. "There is also some evidence of two symmetrical jets emerging from the nucleus of the comet," he says.

The behavior of this comet reminds many onlookers of exploding Comet Holmes in 2007. Researchers believe Holmes exploded when an icy cavern in the comet's nucleus collapsed. Perhaps something similar has happened to Comet Ikeya-Murakami. The icy visitor from the outer solar system made its closest approach to the Sun in late October, so it has just received a dose of solar heating that could trigger such an event.

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. 9, 10, 11] [3D orbit] [ephemeris]

more images: from Joseph Brimacombe using a robotic telescope in New Mexico (Nov.8); 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);

RELUCTANT SUNRISE: On Nov. 7th, the sunrise over Grand Marais, Minnesota, could only be described as reluctant. "The sun just wanted to stick to Lake Superior," says Bryan Hansel who snapped this picture:

Photo details: Nikon D200, Nikkor 300 f/4, 1.4x multiplier, 100 ISO, f/16, 1/640.

"I know the feeling," he says. "I just wanted to stick to my bed, but the lake and sunrise called, and I'm glad I answered!"

This is an excellent example of a sunrise mirage. The great volume of water in Lake Superior holds a lot of heat. During the long cold night of Nov.6th, air nestled against the lake's surface was kept relatively warm. By sunrise on Nov. 7th, a temperature inversion had formed, setting the stage for a distorted "sticky sun."

more images: from Keith Aaron of Virginia Beach, Virginia; from Lyle Anderson of Duluth, Minnesota; from Robert of San Francisco, California; from Mila Zinkova of San Francisco, California

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 9, 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...
Fine astrophotography and gift cards by Alan Friedman outreach, imaging, and reviews
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