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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 362.4 km/sec
density: 0.5 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Nov02
24-hr: A2
0230 UT Nov02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 01 Nov. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 2 days
2009 total: 234 days (77%)
Since 2004: 745 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 01 Nov 2009

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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.6 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Nov. 6th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 02 2201 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: 2009 Nov 02 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 2, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


FROSTY MOON: There's a full Moon tonight and it has a special name--the "Frosty Moon." It gets its name from northern autumnal ground frost, which glistens beautifully in pale moonlight. Go outside tonight, look up and down, and enjoy the show.

RAINBOW AT NIGHT: Have you ever seen a rainbow after dark? It happened last night in Yorkshire, UK, where Christopher Walker photographed a multi-colored band arcing over the countryside:

Rainbows appear when sunlight is reflected from raindrops. But in this case, the sun was not required; the Frosty Moon was bright enough to do the job on its own. "The moonlight was so bright I could see red in the rainbow with my unaided eye," says Walker. "A 30 second exposure with my digital camera revealed [the full range of rainbow colors]."

Lunar rainbows aren't the only thing you might see when the Frosty Moon is out. Be alert also for lunar coronas, moon rings, moondogs, and, last but not least, your own moon shadow.

more images: from M-P Markkanen of Kuusamo, Finland; from Ken Stenek of Shishmaref, Alaska; from Mohamad Soltanolkottabi of Kashan, Iran;

BLUE ICE ON THE RED PLANET: Wake up before dawn, go outside, and look straight up. That eerie red "star" staring back down at you is Mars. The red planet is approaching Earth for a close encounter in January 2010 and it is already brighter than a first-magnitude star.

Next, point a telescope at the red planet and you'll see a surprising splash of icy blue:

"Mars' north polar cap is big enough and bright enough to be seen though most backyard telescopes at medium to high power," says Joel Warren of Amarillo, Texas, who took the picture, above, on Halloween using an 11 inch Celestron telescope.

On Mars, northern winter has just ended and clouds which normally hover over the martian arctic are breaking up, allowing the planet's great ice cap to be seen. "This apparition will offer observers the best view of the North Polar Region to be had in many years," notes Warren.

more images: from Peter Garbett of Sharnbrook, UK; from Rolando Ligustri of Italy using a remotely-controlled telescope in New Mexico; from Ed Lomeli of Sacramento, California;

UPDATED: October Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 2, 2009 there were 1077 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UW87
Oct. 31
1.6 LD
11 m
2009 UK14
Nov. 1
9.1 LD
29 m
2006 JY26
Nov. 2
6.7 LD
10 m
2000 XK44
Nov. 4
28.8 LD
1.1 km
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 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 space weather bureau
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.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
Science Central
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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