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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 363.7 km/sec
density: 1.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2343 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1719 UT Nov26
24-hr: C1
0827 UT Nov26
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 26 Nov 11
Sunspot 1358 is growing rapidly and could soon pose a threat for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 171
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 25 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 25 Nov 2011

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 135 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 25 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: 4.8 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 26 Nov 11
Solar wind flowing from this southern coronal hole could reach Earth as early as Nov. 29. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Nov 26 2220 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
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 26 2220 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
39 %
03 %
17 %
00 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
11 %
15 %
27 %
08 %
58 %
Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011
What's up in space

Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.

Metallic pictures of the Sun

SUNSET CONJUNCTION: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look southwest. Venus and the 5% crescent Moon are in conjunction. The two bright celestial bodies look fantastic beaming through the twilight only 3o apart. It's a nice way to end the day. [sky map]

RADIATION STORM AND CME ALERT: A solar radiation storm is in progress around Earth. At the moment, the storm is classified as minor, which means it has little effect on Earth other than to disturb HF radio transmissions at high latitudes. Energetic protons, which make up the bulk of the storm, were accelerated in our direction earlier today by shock waves in a CME racing away from the sun at about 1000 km/s (2.2 million mph). According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME itself will reach Earth on Nov. 28th around 14:23 UT (+/- 7 hours). Click to view an animated forecast track:

The cloud could triggger geomagnetic storms when it arrives on Monday. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

The forecasting group at Goddard notes that no two spacecraft have yet beamed back concurrent images of the CME. This makes their estimates of the CME's speed and direction necessarily approximate. Stay tuned for updates as more data arrive.

BLACK FRIDAY SOLAR ECLIPSE: Yesterday, Nov. 25th, the new Moon passed in front of the sun, slightly off-center, producing a partial solar eclipse visible from Antarctica, Tasmania, and parts of South Africa and New Zealand. Mike Nicholson photographed the event about two minutes before sunset from Otaki Beach, NZ:

"We were experiencing gale force Sou'westerlies when I took the picture," says Nicholson. "Low clouds plus flying salt and sand provided a natural filter to reduce the glare of the sun."

Maximum coverage occurred about 100 miles off the coast of Antarctica where the sun turned into a slender 9% crescent. Will any pictures be submitted from that remote location? We're still waiting.

more images: from James of Christchurch, New Zealand; from Joerg Schoppmeyer of Signal Hill, Cape Town; from Bonar Carson of Dunedin, New Zealand; from Peter Sayers of Penguin, Tasmania, Australia

NORTHERN LIGHTS: As winter approaches, days are growing short around the Arctic Circle. "Luckily we still have Northern Lights to illuminate our village," says Miika Sirkiä, who sends this picture from Kittilä in the Finnish Lapland on Nov. 24th:

"Around midnight, the auroras were very bright--enough to turn the river Ounasjoki green," says Sirkiä.

Auroras have been flickering around the Arctic Circle for several days. These displays are not caused by major solar activity. Instead, they are prompted by small magnetic fluctuations in the solar wind. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth tips south, partially canceling Earth's north-pointing magnetic field. Solar wind pours in, oh so briefly, to excite the Northern Lights. Aurora alerts: text, phone.

more images: from Andy Keen of Ivalo, Northern Lapland, Finland; from Thomas Achermann of Jerisjärvi, Muonio, Lapland, Finland; from Steve Milner of Ft. St. John, British Columbia; from Borkur Hrolfsson of Reykjavik, Iceland; from Eric Rock of Churchill, Manitoba; from Pavel Kantsurov of Norilsk, Russia;

  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 26, 2011 there were 1270 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2011 WJ15
Nov 20
2.6 LD
39 m
2011 WQ4
Nov 21
2 LD
15 m
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
1.1 km
2011 WP4
Nov 24
1.5 LD
17 m
2011 WN2
Nov 25
8.2 LD
39 m
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
1.0 km
1991 VK
Jan 25
25.3 LD
1.9 km
433 Eros
Jan 31
69.5 LD
8.5 km
2009 AV
Feb 16
44.9 LD
1.2 km
2000 ET70
Feb 19
17.7 LD
1.0 km
2011 CP4
Feb 23
9.1 LD
255 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 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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