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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Solar wind
speed: 350.6 km/sec
density: 7.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B2
2232 UT Dec06
24-hr: B2
2232 UT Dec06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Dec 10
Sunspot 1131 is large enough to see without the aid of a solar telescope: sunset image. 2-day movie: 6 MB mpg
Sunspot number: 47
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 05 Dec 2010

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2010 total: 45 days (13%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 813 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 05 Dec 2010

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 88 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 05 Dec 2010

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.0 nT
Bz: 1.3 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes: 06 Dec 10
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Dec. 10th. Credit: SDO/AIA.
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2010 Dec 06 2200 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: 2010 Dec 06 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
What's up in space

iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.


GREEN SNOW: Globally, Earth's magnetic field was quiet over the weekend, but in one corner of northern Canada the story was different. "On Saturday night," reports Francis Anderson, "the auroras here in Tuktoyaktuk of the Northwest Territories were so bright they cast shadows on the ground and [turned the snow green]!" The phenomenon is called a "substorm" and it gives reason for people of the North to keep an eye on the sky even when the global forecast calls for quiet. more images: #1, #2, #3.

UPDATE! The "mega-filament" described below has just erupted. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory made a must-see movie of the epic blast. The eruption does not appear to be geoeffective; Earth-effects might be limited to pretty pictures.

MEGA-FILAMENT: A magnetic filament snaking around the sun's SE limb just keeps getting longer. The portion visible today stretches more than 700,000 km--a full solar radius. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture during the early hours of Dec. 6th:

NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, stationed over the sun's eastern horizon, saw this filament coming last week. So far the massive structure has hovered quietly above the stellar surface, but now it is showing signs of instability. Long filaments like this one have been known to collapse with explosive results when they hit the stellar surface below. Stay tuned for action.

more images: from Dave Tyler of Buckinghamshire UK; from Deirdre Kelleghan of Bray, Co Wicklow, Ireland; from Peter Desypris of Athens,Greece; from Robert Arnold of Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Gianfranco Meregalli of Milano, Italy; from Francisco A. Rodriguez of Cabreja Mountain Observatory, Canary Islands; from Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas;

THE SHADOW OF EARTH: Imagine stepping out your front door and being swallowed up by the vast dark shadow of an entire planet. Actually, you've done it many times. The darkness you experience after sunset is the shadow of Earth itself. (Think about it.) If you happen to be outside right at sunset, you can sometimes catch Earth's shadow rising to extinquish the twilight. That's exactly what happened to Andrew Greenwood yesterday in England's Peak District National Park:

"I was climbing towards a hill known as Shining Tor when I broke through the fog into the most magical sunlit landscape," says Greenwood. "With the clouds below me, the air was crisp and ultra-transparent. It was at this point that I noticed Earth's shadow climbing into the ice-blue sky in the East. This spectacular vision is sometimes called the 'Belt of Venus.' Its contrast against the snow-covered hills was breath-taking; I could not have wished for a more memorable end to what was in fact my 38th birthday!"

more images: from Börkur Hrólfsson of Gullfoss, Iceland.

November 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000]

  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 6, 2010 there were 1167 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2010 TQ19
Oct 8
9.6 LD
37 m
2010 TS19
Oct 10
3.7 LD
31 m
2010 TD54
Oct 12
0.1 LD
7 m
2010 TB54
Oct 13
6.1 LD
19 m
1999 VO6
Oct 14
34.3 LD
1.8 km
2010 TK
Oct 16
4.5 LD
37 m
1998 TU3
Oct 17
69.1 LD
5.2 km
2010 TG19
Oct 22
1.1 LD
70 m
1998 MQ
Oct 23
77.7 LD
1.9 km
2007 RU17
Oct 29
39.2 LD
1.1 km
2003 UV11
Oct 30
5 LD
595 m
3838 Epona
Nov 7
76.8 LD
3.4 km
2005 QY151
Nov 16
77.7 LD
1.3 km
2008 KT
Nov 23
5.6 LD
10 m
2002 EZ16
Nov 30
73.9 LD
1.0 km
2000 JH5
Dec 7
47 LD
1.5 km
2010 JL33
Dec 9
16.6 LD
1.3 km
2008 EA32
Jan 7
76.5 LD
2.1 km
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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
  more links...
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