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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 461.9 km/sec
density: 1.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2254 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct30
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Oct30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 30 Oct 07
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 28 Oct 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no large sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 5
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Oct 30 2152 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.2 nT
Bz: 0.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no large coronal holes on the sun today. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Oct 30 2203 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 30 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
October 30, 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.

HIGH ATMOSPHERE: Space weather enthusiasts will enjoy a new web site composed by atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley: "High Atmosphere" explains the physics and fascination of airglow, rocket trails, gravity waves and much more. Enjoy!

EXPLODING COMET: "Now that the diameter of Comet 17P/Holmes has increased so dramatically, finding it is child's play," says Laurent Laveder of Quimper, France. "Even my daughter and my stepdaughter know where to find it!" Last night, he took this picture of the girls pointing the way:

Photo details: Canon 30D, Sigma 30mm lens, 1600 ISO, 2 sec.

One of the many curiosities of Comet Holmes is the lack of a normal comet's tail. Since it exploded on Oct. 24th, Holmes has been almost perfectly spherical, more like a planet than a comet. Now, however, a tail may be emerging.

"On Oct. 28th, I decided to take many short exposures to try to detect any hint of an ion tail," says Sean Walker of Chester New Hampshire. "Success! Note the faint, diffuse tail trailing off to the upper-left in this image:"

Photo details: 108mm f/4 astrograph, SBIG ST-10XE CCD camera, 21 minutes

The emerging tail is even more distinct in a photo taken Oct. 29th by Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK. "This is a 45 minute exposure (9x5 minute exposures) through my Vixen 4-inch refracting telescope," he explains. "The tail is extremely faint but is there heading off to the upper right of the coma. As the Moon moves out of the way, astrophotographers will have a better opportunity to focus on the faint structures that constitute that most important piece of a comet - its tail!"

Readers, this comet is as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper, which makes it an easy target for backyard telescopes and off-the-shelf digital cameras. Point, click, and submit your images to!

Comet 17P/Holmes Photo Gallery
[New: Interactive World Map of Comet Photos]
[sky map] [ephemeris] [3D orbit] [Night Sky Cameras]

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 30, 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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