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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 570.3 km/sec
density: 0.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2243 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 08
New-cycle sunspot 1007 has disappeared over the sun's western limb. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 07 Nov. 2008
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= 4
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.7 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 08 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: 2008 Nov 08 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 8, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

AURORA ALERT: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights tonight. Earth is entering a high-speed solar wind stream and this is sparking auroras around the Arctic Circle: gallery.

TAURID FIREBALLS: During the night of November 4th-5th, astronomers at the Marshall Space Flight Center video-recorded six explosions on the Moon. The blasts were caused by Taurid meteoroids hitting the lunar surface. "The Moon is experiencing a good meteor shower," says Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office.

So is Earth. A NASA all-sky monitoring station in Walker County, Georgia, recorded more than a dozen bright meteors and fireballs on same night the Moon was getting hit. This 9-hour composite image shows the activity at a glance:

The best Taurid of the evening was a centimeter-sized nugget that self-destructed in flight. It's the magnitude -5 flash in the upper right corner of the composite image: 5MB movie.

The show's not over. Between Nov. 5th and 12th, the Earth-Moon system will be passing through a swarm of gritty debris from parent comet 2P/Encke. When the same thing happened in 2005, sky watchers observed a slow drizzle of midnight fireballs for nearly two weeks. So be alert for Taurids! The best time to look is anytime after dark. The constellation Taurus (where Taurids appear) rises at sunset and stays up all night long: sky map.

2008 Taurid Fireball Gallery
[2005 Taurids: on Earth, on the Moon]

DISINTEGRATED ASTEROID: Asteroid 2008 TC3 was discovered on Oct. 6, 2008, and a day later it hit Earth. The 3 meter-wide space rock disintegrated in the atmosphere, producing a fireball about as bright as a full Moon. Although the time and location of impact were predicted with some precision, few people saw it because it happened over a remote area of northern Sudan.

Now, for the first time, a ground-based photo has come to light:

This is a single frame from a video taken by Mr. Mohamed Elhassan Abdelatif Mahir and communicated by Dr. Muawia H. Shaddad of the University of Karthoum. It shows the fireball's aftermath--a smoky trail of debris twisted by high-altitude winds and illuminated by the rising sun. Researchers hope publication of this photo will encourage other photographers to come forward and submit their images of the debris or, better yet, the fireball itself.

Readers, were you in Sudan on Oct. 7th? Send your fireball reports and photos to meteor expert Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute. Your data could improve the chances of recovering meteorites.

UPDATED: Nov. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Novembers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 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 November 8, 2008 there were 997 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2008 TX3
Nov. 1
9 LD
45 m
2008 UT95
Nov. 2
1.5 LD
15 m
2008 UC7
Nov. 2
4.5 LD
17 m
2008 VM
Nov. 3
0.1 LD
4 m
2008 VA4
Nov. 4
7.7 LD
49 m
2008 VB4
Nov. 4
1.3 LD
10 m
2008 VC
Nov. 4
4.4 LD
18 m
4179 Toutatis
Nov. 9
20 LD
3.8 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 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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