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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 366.8 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C2
1723 UT Nov18
24-hr: C3
0049 UT Nov18
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 18 Nov 11
New sunspot 1354 is the most active of today's Earthside sunspots. None however poses a threat for very strong flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 122
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 17 Nov 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 17 Nov 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 148 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 17 Nov 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.0 nT
Bz: 1.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 18 Nov 11
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Nov 18 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
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: 2011 Nov 18 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Friday, Nov. 18, 2011
What's up in space

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

Satellite flybys

SHENZHOU 8 RETURNS TO EARTH: The unmanned Shenzhou 8 probe returned to Earth on Nov. 17th, wrapping up a three-week mission to China's Tiangong 1 space station. Shenzhou 8 spent its time in orbit practicing rendevous and docking maneuvers which are still new to China's upstart space program. Chinese authorities say the mission was a success. Tiangong 1 is still in orbit and may be seen flying through the night skies of North America this weekend. Check the Satellite Tracker or your smartphone for flyby times.

LEONID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is passing through the debris field of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, parent of the annual Leonid meteor shower. Barring a direct hit by a filament of dust, which forecasters consider unlikely, this year's shower should be mild. Peak rates of 10 to 20 meteors per hour are expected on Nov. 17-18. [live counts] [meteor radar]

A NASA meteor camera caught this Leonid fireball streaking across the skies of New Mexico on Nov. 17th:

According to an analysis by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, the meteoroid hit the atmosphere traveling 72.7 km/s, a value typical of Leonids, and disintegrated about 90 km above the ground.

GREAT FILAMENT: It's one of the biggest things in the entire solar system. A dark filament of magnetism measuring more than 800,000 km from end to end is sprawled diagonally across the face of the sun. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this ultraviolet picture of the structure during the late hours of Nov. 17th:

If the filament becomes unstable, as solar filaments sometimes do, it could collapse and hit the stellar surface below, triggering a Hyder flare. Indeed, part of the filament already erupted on Nov. 16th, but Earth was not in the line of fire. A similar event today would likely be geoeffective because of the filament's central location on the solar disk. Solar flare alerts: text, phone

  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 18, 2011 there were 1256 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
400 m
2011 UT91
Nov 15
9.9 LD
109 m
1994 CK1
Nov 16
68.8 LD
1.5 km
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
1.1 km
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
1.6 km
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
1.0 km
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
80 m
2011 SL102
Dec 28
75.9 LD
1.1 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
Trade Show Displays
  more links...
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