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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 460.4 km/sec
density: 2.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2034 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Nov09
24-hr: A0
1245 UT Nov09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Nov 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 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= 2 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: 4.1 nT
Bz: 1.4 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2035 UT
Coronal Holes:
Earth is exiting a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 09 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 09 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
10 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
05 %
05 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 9, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

MIDNIGHT FIREBALLS: Earth is passing through a swarm of gritty debris from comet 2P/Encke and this is causing a slow flurry of Taurid fireballs. Be alert for these very bright meteors anytime after nightfall. You may have to stay outside an hour or more to see one, but one is enough to make the wait worthwhile: gallery.

AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field and causing geomagnetic disturbances around the Arctic Circle. Photographer Rune Christiansen sends this self-portrait from Nuuk, Greenland:

"I made this 20-second exposure using my Canon 5D set at ISO 1000," says Christiansen. "It was great to have clear skies for a change while the auroras were active."

If good weather holds, he might see more tonight. The solar wind continues to blow and high-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

Nov. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Novembers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000]

SUNSET-FLAVORED JELLO: "Every time I go to watch a Pacific sunset I feel like I'm going out on my very first date," says Mila Zinkova of San Francisco, California. "Tonight (Nov. 6th) my date was oh-so entertaining. A green rim and green flashes danced on the top and the sides of the sun for almost a minute as it descended into the Pacific. The green color was as deep as the ocean itself." She captured the scene in a series of photos:

"It reminds me of jello," says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Near the horizon the sun always sports a slender green rim. Our sphere-shaped atmosphere acts as a lens to lift the sun’s image. The blue and green 'suns' are lifted more than the red one, but we rarely see the blue rim because blue light is mostly scattered away to form the sky color above us. The mirage conditions here have distorted the sun and vertically magnified the green rim to generate mini green flashes."

"The California Coast with its cold ocean currents overlaid by warm winds from the land is ideal for seeing sights like these." Sunset jello: another reason to go to the beach!

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

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 9, 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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