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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 332.1 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2230 UT Nov12
24-hr: B1
0010 UT Nov12
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Nov 08
New-cycle sunspot 1008 is growing rapidly. The sun is purple today because the picture was taken through a violet Calcium-K filter, which reveals bright magnetic froth around sunspots. Photo credit: David Leong of Hong Kong
Sunspot number: 18
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 11 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= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 1.8 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 12 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 12 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 12, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

IN SEARCH OF METEOR SHOWERS: NASA astronomers have set up a monitoring station to scan the night sky for unknown or unexpected meteor showers--and they're finding more than they bargained for. In only two months of observing, the newly commissioned system has captured a flurry of meteors from an unknown comet and an object from the asteroid belt exploding like 500 lb of TNT. See the movies in today's story from Science@NASA.

SUNSPOT GROUP 1008: November is a cloudy month in South Wales, so this morning when Steve Wainwright of Swansea saw the sun shining through clear skies, he couldn't resist a smile. When he looked at the sun through his backyard solar telescope, the sun was smiling back:

"The sun is waking up and winking at us today," says Wainwright.

The "smile" is a filament of plasma connecting the two magnetic poles of sunspot 1008. Magnetograms of the active region reveal a N-S polarity characteristic of Solar Cycle 24: this is a new-cycle sunspot. The appearance of 1008 continues a recent trend of increasing new-cycle sunspot counts, which began in Oct. 2008. Solar activity is on the rise; if you have a solar telescope, take a look!

more images: from B. Shelzi and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, the Netherlands; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Andy Yeung of Hong Kong;

FROSTY MOON HALO: There's a full Moon tonight and according to folklore it is the "Frosty Moon." Go outside shortly after sunset while the Frosty Moon is still hanging low in the east. Then, look straight up. You might see something like this:

It appears to be a rainbow, but it is not. This is a circumzenithal arc (CZA), caused by moonlight shining through ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. Canadian photographer Lauri Kangas took the picture one month ago when October's full Moon was rising above his hometown, Caledon, Ontario.

"It was the brightest lunar CZA I have ever seen," says Kangas, "and it hung around just long enough for me to get the camera and tripod."

Lunar CZAs form only when the Moon is low, less than 32.3° above the horizon. So don't wait. Look for the pure colors of this frosty halo during the first hours of darkness before the Moon rises too high and the arc fades away.

2008 Taurid Fireball Gallery
[sky map] [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 12, 2008 there were 997 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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