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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 342.2 km/sec
density: 2.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A1
2105 UT Nov11
24-hr: A2
0835 UT Nov11
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 11 Nov 08
New-cycle sunspot 1008 is growing rapidly. The sun is purple today because the picture was taken through a violet Calcium-K filter, which reveals bright magnetic froth around sunspots. Photo credit: David Leong of Hong Kong
Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 10 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= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.7 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
There are no coronal holes on the Earth-facing side of the sun. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 11 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 11 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
November 11, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

PHOENIX LOSES POWER: Mars lander Phoenix has lost power and is no longer communicating with Earth. The problem was sunlight: With the winter sun at Phoenix's landing site hanging lower day-by-day and an unexpected dust storm dimming the sun even more, Phoenix's solar panels could not gather the light they needed to charge the lander's batteries. Mission planners always knew Phoenix would not survive the harsh Martian winter, so this turn of events is no surprise. Farewell, Phoenix, and congratulations to the Phoenix team on a very successful mission.

SUNSPOT GROUP 1008: A new group of sunspots is growing rapidly in the sun's northern hemisphere. The active region, numbered 1008, contains no fewer than seven dark cores. Pavol Rapavy sends this picture from his backyard observatory in Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia:

Using an H-alpha filter tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen, Pete Lawrence of Selsey UK witnessed "the formation of a lovely magnetic filament" connecting opposite ends of the sunspot group: photo.

Judging from its high latitude, active region 1008 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. The appearance of 1008 continues a recent trend of increasing new-cycle sunspot counts, which began in Oct. 2008. Solar activity is on the rise; tf you have a solar telescope, take a look!

more images: from Franck Charlier of Marines, Val d'Oise, France; from David Leong of Hong Kong; from Andy Yeung of Hong Kong; from Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland; from Denis Joye of Boulogne, France; from Catalin M. Timosca of Turda, Romania;

INLAND MIRAGE: People strolling along the beach at the end of the day frequently see strangely-shaped suns sinking into the waves. Oceans are good at producing such mirages. But there was no ocean near this mirage deep in the heart of Texas:

Photo details: Canon 40D, 800 mm lens

"On Nov. 8th, I was out shooting the sunrise behind the capitol building in Austin," says photographer Sam Cole. "To my surprise, I saw some very odd shapes."

What happened? Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains: "Miraged suns are rare inland. A temperature inversion (colder air below warmer air) is needed and a cold ocean most easily creates one. Probably the previous Austin night was clear, allowing the ground to radiate its heat away into space. This in turn cooled the air touching it and voila! - a sunrise mirage. The same cooling effect gives the fabled Fata Morgana mirage and morning mists with their fogbows. Get up early to catch them!"

2008 Taurid Fireball Gallery
[sky map] [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 11, 2008 there were 998 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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