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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 329.7 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct17
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Oct17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Oct 07
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 15 Oct 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large 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
Updated: 2007 Oct 17 2140 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 0.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth as early as Oct. 18th. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Oct 17 2203 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: 2007 Oct 17 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
15 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
10 %
15 %
05 %
10 %

What's up in Space
October 17, 2007
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

ALIEN SKIES: Do you love gazing at a starry night sky? Nothing you've ever seen on Earth could prepare you for the fantastic skies of some "orphan stars" just discovered by astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory: full story.

SOLAR WIND: Today's x-ray image of the sun from Japan's Hinode spacecraft reveals a large triangular hole in the sun's atmosphere:

A solar wind stream flowing from this "coronal hole" will soon reach Earth and the impact could trigger a geomagnetic storm. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Oct. 18th and 19th.

October 2007 Aurora Gallery
[September Gallery] [Aurora Alerts]

BRIGHTENING COMET: Comet LONEOS (C/2007 F1) is brightening. "Last night I saw it with the naked eye," reports Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland. It wasn't very bright--"just 6th magnitude"--but definitely there. He made this sketch peering through his 8-inch telescope. "The comet sported a beautiful green coma with a blue ion tail."

Tonight, Oct. 17th, is a good night to find Comet LONEOS as it glides by the 3rd magnitude star Muphrid in the constellation Bootes. Let Muphrid be your guide! The time to look is immediately after sundown. LONEOS is near the horizon and sets not long after darkness falls: sky map, ephemeris.

Above: Comet LONEOS on Oct. 16th, a one-minute exposure through a 4-inch refracting telescope. Credit: Tibor Horvath of Hegyhatsal, Hungary.

Comet LONEOS is brightening because it is falling toward the sun. At closest approach on Oct. 29th it will be just outside the orbit of Mercury. How bright will LONEOS become? Experts estimate 4th magnitude--not a Great Comet but still a nice target for backyard telescopes. Stay tuned for updates!

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 17, 2007 there were 896 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct.-Nov. 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 TL16
Oct. 5
1.6 LD
27 m
2007 TC14
Oct. 18
11.7 LD
180 m
2340 Hathor
Oct. 22
23.3 LD
620 m
2005 GL
Nov. 8
8.0 LD
280 m
1989 UR
Nov. 24
27.6 LD
880 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 Environment Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
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.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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