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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 538.9 km/sec
density: 1.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct27
24-hr: A0
1245 UT Oct27
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 27 Oct 07
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 26 Oct 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals a possibly large sunspot on the far side of the sun. This detection should be considered tentative until confirmed by tomorrow's farside image. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Oct 27 2137 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.5 nT
Bz: 2.3 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Oct 27 2104 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 27 2104 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
20 %
10 %
15 %
01 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
20 %
25 %
15 %
20 %
01 %
05 %

What's up in Space
October 27, 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.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Who says the sun is quiet? "This morning I looked through my SolarMax60 and saw this prominence starting to get really big," reports Paul Haese of Blackwood, Australia. The flame-like eruption is now dancing over the sun's western limb. If you have a solar telescope, take a look!

EXPLODING COMET: When the core of Comet 17P/Holmes erupted on Oct. 23rd, at first the comet looked like a dimensionless point of light in the night sky. But now "the comet's disk is visible to the naked eye," reports Doug Zubenel of Lincoln County, Kansas. The expansion of the debris cloud is shown in this doublet of images taken Oct. 25th and 26th by amateur astronomer Wah! of Hong Kong using an 8-inch LX200 telescope:

What is happening to Comet Holmes? It remains a mystery--one that you can behold with your naked eyes. Step outside after sunset, face north, and look for the growing and fuzzy "star" in the thigh of Perseus: sky map. Comet Holmes is similar in brightness to the stars of the Big Dipper, very easy to see!

Comet 17P/Holmes Photo Gallery
[sky map] [ephemeris] [3D orbit] [Night Sky Cameras]

BIG MOONLIGHT: Two nights ago in Ireland, Frank Ryan Jr and David Lillis were observing Comet Holmes with a 20-inch Dobsonian telescope when the bright full Moon rose in the east. Says Ryan, "we couldn't pass up the opportunity of projecting the Moon onto a wall to see the effect."

Photo details: Canon 350D, ISO 800, 2 Sec.

"It turned out to be pretty cool," he says.

Readers, the Moon will be big and bright for some nights to come. After you see the comet, try swinging your telescope over for a quick lunar projection. Be careful, though. This is a real crowd pleaser and before you know it you may have your hands full.

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

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 27, 2007 there were 894 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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