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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 643.6 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2228 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B4
2010 UT Oct23
24-hr: B4
2010 UT Oct23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Oct 10
After three days of quiet stagnation, sunspot 1117 is growing again. Credit: SOHO/MDI. 2-day movie: 8 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 34
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Oct 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (15%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 22 Oct 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 82 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Oct 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.9 nT
Bz: 4.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2228 UT
Coronal Holes: 22 Oct 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Oct. 25th or 26th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Oct 23 2200 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: 2010 Oct 23 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
50 %
50 %
20 %
20 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
50 %
50 %
40 %
40 %
Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010
What's up in space

AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE


AURORA ALERT: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. A high-speed solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing polar geomagnetic storms.

THE SURPRISING CONTENTS OF LUNAR CRATERS: Nearly a year after announcing the discovery of water molecules on the moon, scientists say there's more than just water hiding in cold lunar craters. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

FULL MOONLIGHT: It tramples meteors, overwhelms auroras, and wipes out all but the brightest stars. But the full Moon isn't all bad. Just look at the landscape:

Photo details: Canon 500D, Sigma fisheye lens, ISO 1600, 15 sec, f/4.5

"Last night's full Moon cast a bright light over this colourful autumnal forest in the Bakony mountains of Hungary," says photographer Tamas Ladanyi. "It was almost like daylight."

Meanwhile in Vira Bruk, Sweden, photographer P-M Hedén turned his attention to a moonlit waterfall. "There was a time when I didn't like the full Moon because it prevented me from doing any deep-sky photography. Now I really enjoy walking around the moonlit landscape and doing lunarlight photography instead."

more images: from Tavi Greiner of Shallotte, North Carolina; from Lisa LaCivita of Stephens City, Virginia; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Ken Scott of Leelanau County, Michigan

COMET HARTLEY 2: To the list of things that defy moonlight, such as trees and waterfalls, add Comet Hartley 2. Amateur astronomer Nick Howes took this picture on Oct. 22nd using a robotic 4-inch telescope in Hawaii:

"Photography is difficult due to the Moon, but with narrowband filters the comet stands out quite nicely," he says. "The tail is now very well defined, and stands in beautiful contrast to the diffuse green coma. This was a 15 minute exposure."

Astronomers who wish to monitor this small but active comet should point their optics at the constellation Auriga high in the northern sky before dawn. Moonlight will make finding the comet a little tricky. On the bright side, reading the finder chart will be a breeze!

more images: from Rolando Ligustri using a robotic telescope in New Mexico; from Efrain Morales Rivera of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; from Tamás Ábrahám of Zsámbék, Hungary;

October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

  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 23, 2010 there were 1155 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
2.1 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
  more links...
2010 Perseid meteor shower
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space weather alerts
outdoor lighting
Superior Labels - Out of this World!
Christmas Cards
satellite tracking
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