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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 493.1 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2342 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1805 UT Nov21
24-hr: A1
0705 UT Nov21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 21 Nov. 09
Sunspot 1033 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 31
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 243 days (76%)
Since 2004: 754 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 20 Nov 2009

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= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 21 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: 2009 Nov 21 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 21, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


AURORA WATCH: A high-speed solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. Polar sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight.

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: Space shuttle Atlantis is docked to the International Space Station (ISS) and together the two spacecraft are putting on a good show in the night sky. On Nov. 19th, Tamas Ladanyi caught the pair arcing over Balatonaliga, Hungary:

"I took the picture using a Canon 450D and a fisheye lens," he says. "In the full-sized photo you can see Jupiter peeking through the branches of the tree and the Moon setting in the distance. It was a beautiful autumn night at Lake Balaton."

On Nov. 25th, Atlantis will undock from the ISS. At that time, the brilliant streak shown above will split in two and double flybys will commence for a couple of nights while Atlantis prepares to land on Earth. Monitor the Simple Satellite Tracker for sighting opportunities.

more images: from P-M Hedén of Ålbo, Sweden; from Janusz Krysiak of Koluszki, Poland; from Nicolas Biver of Versailles, France; from Jiri Srba of Valasske Mezirici, Czech Republic; from Pawel Warchal of Cracow, Poland; from Dewey Vanderhoff of Cody Wyoming;

EXTRA SUN HALOS: Normally, when we see an ice halo around the sun, it is a single ring. But yesterday in Sumrall, Mississippi, sky watcher Barry Russell counted more. "There were [at least] 3 halos around the sun! I was really shocked to see 3 of them at once," he says. (continued below)

Where did the extra rings come from? Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "Ice crystals with pyramid-shaped ends made these halos. Most of the halos we see are from six-sided plate-shaped and pencil-shaped crystals with flat ends. Put pyramids on their ends and the sun’s rays can pass through them in several more ways to make odd-radius halos. Here, in addition to the familiar 22o circular halo we have ones of 9o, 18o, 23o and 24o radius."

" Pyramidal halos are often overlooked," Cowley notes. "Search for them whenever cirrus clouds drift in front og the sun."

November Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

2009 Leonid Meteor Gallery
[previous Leonids: 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 21, 2009 there were 1082 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UK14
Nov. 1
9.1 LD
29 m
2006 JY26
Nov. 2
6.7 LD
10 m
2000 XK44
Nov. 4
28.8 LD
1.1 km
2009 VA
Nov. 6
0.05 LD
6 m
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 VT1
Nov. 9
1.4 LD
6 m
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 m
2009 VX
Nov. 12
2.6 LD
26 m
2009 VR
Nov. 13
6.6 LD
10 m
2009 WQ6
Nov. 16
0.9 LD
7 m
2009 WX7
Nov. 16
3.7 LD
20 m
2009 VC1
Nov. 18
6.0 LD
21 m
2009 WJ6
Nov. 20
0.5 LD
14 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 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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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