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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 345.5 km/sec
density: 1.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Nov08
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Nov08
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 08 Nov 07
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Nov 2007
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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:

Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Nov 08 2137 UT
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.2 nT
Bz: 3.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Nov. 8th or 9th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Nov 08 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 Nov 08 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %

What's up in Space
November 8, 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.

REPAIR SHOPS FOR BROKEN DNA: When high-energy particles from solar flares penetrate the cells of astronauts, what happens to the broken DNA? NASA scientists have discovered microscopic repair shops for mending the damage: full story.

115 YEARS AND COUNTING: On the evening of Nov. 6, 1892, amateur astronomer Edwin Holmes was scanning the night sky above his backyard in England when he spotted something no one had ever seen before: an exploding comet. One hundred and fifteen years later, Comet 17P/Holmes is exploding again. "This sequence of images shows the dramatic expansion in just nine days," say photographers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre of Woburn, Massachusetts.

What would cause a comet to explode and then do it again 115 years later? That is the great mystery of Comet Holmes. "It's amazing to think that the light we see now comes from the same object that was also bursting more than a century ago," say Joson and Aguirre.

"We recorded these images using an 8-inch Meade telescope and a Canon EOS 20D digital camera. The comet now nearly fills the camera's field of view, but its surface brightness has decreased since the explosion began on Oct. 23, 2007. In fact, we had to boost the camera’s ISO setting from 400 to 1600 in order to record the same level of brightness during the 30-second exposure as we did in late October."

The expanding comet is increasingly dilute, but it is still visible to the unaided eye and a fine target for binoculars and backyard telescopes. After sunset, look north for a 3rd-magnitude fuzzball in the constellation Perseus: sky map.

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

ICE HALOS: Yesterday in the sky above Tijeras, New Mexico, a delicate network of luminous arcs and comet-like jets formed around the sun. "Using a handheld mirror, I made this self portrait of the phenomenon," says photographer Becky Ramotowski:

The arcs and jets are actually halos and sundogs created by sunlight passing through ice crystals in the high atmosphere. Not shown in this small mirror is "a complete parhelic circle (one of the most beautiful of all ice haloes) ringing the entire sky," she says.

Becky witnessed this breathtaking display for the simple reason that she paused to look around the sun. Try it. Haloes are more common than you think.

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 8, 2007 there were 901 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2005 GL
Nov. 8
8.0 LD
280 m
2007 VA3
Nov. 11
7.0 LD
30 m
2007 UL12
Nov. 12
18.4 LD
325 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 Weather Prediction 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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