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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 534.9 km/sec
density: 1.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct11
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Oct11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Oct 08
Emerging sunspot 1004 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 Oct. 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= 5 storm
24-hr max: Kp= 7
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on or about Oct. 11th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Oct 11 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 Oct 11 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
15 %
20 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
What's up in Space
October 11, 2008
BEHOLD THE SUN: Would you like to see fiery prominences and new-cycle sunspots with your own eyes? On sale now: Personal Solar Telescopes.  

NEW SUNSPOT: A new sunspot is emerging near the sun's northeastern limb. It's the biggest active region in months and appears to be a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, now is the time to watch sunspot genesis in action.

images: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Andy Tennant of Edinburgh, Scotland; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany;

AURORA ALERT: A geomagnetic storm is in progress. Sky watchers from Alaska to Scandinavia, and even as far south as US states like Minnesota and Wisconsin, should be alert for auroras tonight. Good displays are already underway in Finland:

"Finally some good auroras and no clouds!" exclaims photographer Sauli Koski of Kittila, Finland. He took this picture and others using a Nikon D3 digital camera, opening the shutter for 8 seconds at 1000 asa.

The storm began earlier today when a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field. Reverberations, and bright lights in the sky, could continue for the next 24 hours. Stay tuned for photos.

Oct. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Octobers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000]

DAYLIGHT TRANSIT: How bright is the International Space Station (ISS)? Consider the following: On Oct. 10th, Joe Ricci of Rochester, New York, saw the massive spacecraft with his naked eye 20 minutes before sunset. Framed by blue sky, it was heading for the Moon:

"The Moon was just 16o above the horizon when the ISS passed in front of it," says Ricci. "I attached my Canon PowerShot SD750 to the eyepiece of an Orion XT8 telescope and photographed the transit with a series of 1/640 second exposures." In the final snapshot, we see that the surface brightness of the ISS rivals that of the Moon itself.

Now imagine what the space station looks like when the sky is actually dark! Check the satellite tracker for viewing times.

more images: from Bob Hillenbrand of Samsula, Florida; from Paulo Casquinha of Palmela, Portugal; from Mike Borman of Evansville, Indiana; from Wienie van Der Oord in the Arava desert of Israel

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 11, 2008 there were 990 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 QS11
Oct. 2
11 LD
470 m
2008 SH148
Oct. 4
5.8 LD
26 m
2005 GN59
Oct. 6
20 LD
1.4 km
2008 TC3
Oct. 7
3 m
2008 TZ
Oct. 10
5.3 LD
37 m
1999 VP11
Oct. 16
72 LD
860 m
2001 UY4
Oct. 18
74 LD
1.1 km
2000 EX106
Oct. 23
69 LD
1.1 km
2005 VN
Oct. 29
4.1 LD
116 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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