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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 250.7 km/sec
density: 0.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2350 UT Nov30
24-hr: A0
0125 UT Nov30
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2350 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Dec. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 01 Dec 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 9 days
2009 total: 252 days (75%)
Since 2004: 763 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 01 Dec 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: 1.5 nT
Bz: 0.9 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Dec. 3rd or 4th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Dec 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 Dec 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 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
December 2, 2009

SPACESHIP SIGHTINGS: Would you like a call when the space station is about to fly over your backyard? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.


SOLAR MINIMUM: The sun is in the pits of a very deep solar minimum. Many researchers thought the sunspot cycle had hit bottom in 2008 when the sun was blank 73% of the time. Not so. 2009 is on the verge of going even lower. So far this year, the sun has been blank 75% of the time, and only a serious outbreak of sunspots over the next few weeks will prevent 2009 from becoming the quietest year in a century. Solar minimum continues.

LONG NIGHT'S MOON: Last night, observers around the world enjoyed the bright light of the full "Long Night's Moon." In the Netherlands, the moonlight revealed a bunch of frosty kiwis hanging in the back garden of photographer Jacob Kuiper:

"November of 2009 was the 2nd warmest November since 1901,"
says Kuiper. "Because of this spring-like weather, my kiwifruit was still hanging in place when December brought our first frost--and a lovely full Moon."

The question is, will they still be hanging when the second full Moon of December arrives? This month has two full Moons--the Long Night's Moon of Dec. 1st-2nd and a rare "Blue Moon" on Dec. 31st. Check back then for updates, and meanwhile browse the links below.

more images: from Mark Riddick of Staunton, Virginia; from Stefano De Rosa of Turin, Italy; from Mike Deep of San Antonio, TX; from Derek Weston of Iowa City, IA; from Rick Ellis of Toronto, Canada; from John C McConnell of Maghaberry Northern Ireland; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Enrico Finotto of Health of Livenza, Venice, Italy; from Doug Zubenel of Lenexa, Kansas; from Steve Cotthaus of Virginia Beach, VA; from Alexandros Diamantis of Athens, Greece;

RARE MOON HALOS: On Nov. 29th, when the waxing Moon ascended over Kittilä, Finland, Timo Veijalainen walked outside and witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime moonrise. "I saw this weird halo," he says. "It didn't start out so bright, but later it intensified and formed a number of different rings. I've never seen anything it!"

Fortunately, he was not too spellbound to take a picture:

The display was caused by ice crystals floating in the air between Finland and the Moon. Moonlight glinted, reflected, and refracted through the crystals in a complicated pattern that produced a display of surpassing beauty.

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley was so impressed, he waxed poetic in describing the scene: "Halos like this around Helios, the ancient Greek sun god, would be notable. Around much fainter Selene, the moon goddess, they are outstanding. We need new names for some of them. On each side of Selene there is a bright and colorful moondog or 'paraselene.' The white halo joining them and passing through the moon is a 'paraselenic circle.'"

"But the two choicest gems illuminated by Selene keep their old names. The very topmost halo is a rare one. It remains a Parry arc in honor of its discoverer the Arctic explorer William Parry, who first saw it around the sun. That's not all. The smudges near the moondogs are very rare lower and middle Lowitz arcs. These were not even photographed around Helios until the 1990s!"

November Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Novembers: 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 December 2, 2009 there were 1084 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
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
2009 VA
Nov. 6
0.05 LD
6 m
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 VT1
Nov. 9
1.4 LD
6 m
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 m
2009 VX
Nov. 12
2.6 LD
26 m
2009 VR
Nov. 13
6.6 LD
10 m
2009 WQ6
Nov. 16
0.9 LD
7 m
2009 WX7
Nov. 16
3.7 LD
20 m
2009 VC1
Nov. 18
6.0 LD
21 m
2009 WJ6
Nov. 20
0.5 LD
14 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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