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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 389.8 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2030 UT Nov10
24-hr: B2
2030 UT Nov10
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 10 Nov 08
A new high-latitude sunspot is emerging in the sun's northern hemisphere. Train your solar telescope on the circled region. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 Nov. 2008
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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
Bz: 1.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 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: 2008 Nov 10 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: 2008 Nov 10 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 10, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

PHOENIX LOSES POWER: Mars lander Phoenix has lost power and is no longer communicating with Earth. The problem was not deepening cold at Phoenix's arctic landing site, but rather waning winter sunlight and a dust storm that dimmed the sun even more than expected. Phoenix's solar panels could not gather the light they needed to charge the lander's batteries. Mission planners always knew Phoenix would not survive the winter, so this comes as no surprise. Farewell Phoenix, and congratulations to the Phoenix team on a very successful mission.

SOLAR CYCLE UPDATE: "Solar minimum is behind us," declares NASA sunspot forecaster David Hathaway. He bases the assertion on a flurry of new-cycle sunspots in October 2008. For the first time, active regions from new Solar Cycle 24 are outnumbering active regions from old Solar Cycle 23. Solar activity remains generally low, but the sun is showing signs of life.

November is picking up where October left off with the formation of yet another new-cycle sunspot, provisionally numbered 1008. It appeared today at the location circled in this SOHO UV image of the sun:

Inside that bright nest of magnetic loops, a dark sunspot is rapidly coelescing. Howard Eskildsen photographed it from his backyard observatory in Ocala, Florida. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, now is your chance to watch sunspot genesis in action.

more images: from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from Adrian Guzman of San Jose, California;

TAURID FIREBALLS: There's a bright Moon out tonight, but it's not putting a damper on the Taurid meteor shower. That's because Taurids tend to be fireballs:

"I caught this very long and bright Taurid meteor on Nov. 8th," says Bob Johnson of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan."It really lit up the sky!"

Earth is passing through a swarm of gritty debris from comet 2P/Encke and this is causing fireballs to shoot out of the constellation Taurus. They can appear at any time; Taurus rises in the east at sunset and stays up all night long. Some patience is required. You may have to stay outside an hour or more to see one, but one fireball is enough to make the wait worthwhile: sky map.

UPDATE: "Around 8:26 p.m. EST on Nov. 9th, I saw several Taurid fireballs appear within one minute," reports Mark Balzer of Spiro, Oklahoma. "All were around mag. -4 to -6 and had that greenish 'Tarurid hue.' These were Taurids--from the horns, no doubt about it--and they were traveling together in a bunch. I believe they must have come from the same parent fragment. It was odd seeing five fireballs within one minute, then NO other meteors for 30 minutes."

2008 Taurid Fireball Gallery
[2005 Taurids: on Earth, on the Moon]

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 10, 2008 there were 998 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 TX3
Nov. 1
9 LD
45 m
2008 UT95
Nov. 2
1.5 LD
15 m
2008 UC7
Nov. 2
4.5 LD
17 m
2008 VM
Nov. 3
0.1 LD
4 m
2008 VA4
Nov. 4
7.7 LD
49 m
2008 VB4
Nov. 4
1.3 LD
10 m
2008 VC
Nov. 4
4.4 LD
18 m
4179 Toutatis
Nov. 9
20 LD
3.8 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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