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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 286.3 km/sec
density: 3.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Nov13
24-hr: A2
0645 UT Nov13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Nov 08
In this magnetic map of the sun, shades of gray denote magnetic polarity. Black is negative (S), white is positive (N). The N-S orientation of sunspot 1008 identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia; from Andy Yeung of Hong Kong , China; from David Leong of Hong Kong
Sunspot number: 21
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 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: 2.3 nT
Bz: 1.3 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: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 13 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 13 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
00 %
00 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
00 %
00 %
What's up in Space
November 13, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

NIGHT LAUNCH: Space shuttle Endeavour is on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, scheduled for liftoff on Friday, Nov. 14th, at 7:55 pm EST. Weather forecasters offer a 60% chance that the spectacular night launch will proceed as planned. After launch, Endeavour will rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS); the shuttle's 32,000-lb load of cargo for the ISS includes a toilet, new sleeping quarters, a waste recycling system and other items needed to expand the station's crew from 3 to 6 in the spring of 2009. Stay tuned for updates and flybys.

AURORAS ON SATURN: In today's edition of Nature, a team of astronomers led by Tom Stallard of the University of Leicester, UK, announced the discovery of unique auroras on Saturn. They're shown here in an infrared photo taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft:

On Earth, auroras light up a ring around the north pole called the "auroral oval." It's where our planet's converging magnetic field guides particles from space into the upper atmosphere. The oval is empty in the middle and relatively smooth.

Saturn's auroras form a different pattern. "It's not just a ring of auroras like those we've seen at Jupiter or Earth," says Stallard. Saturn's auroras span an enormous area, sometimes completely covering the north pole. "Our current [theories] predict that this inner region should be empty, so finding bright auroras there is a fantastic surprise."

Co-author Nick Achilleos of University College London says "Saturn's unique auroras are telling us there is something special about the planet's magnetosphere and the way it interacts with solar wind. Trying to explain it will no doubt lead us to physics which uniquely operates in the environment of Saturn." [more]

BASKETBALL PLAYER IN THE MOON: It's that time of year, basketball season, and if you don't believe it, just look at tonight's full Moon. Etched in moondust and hardened lava, there's a game in progress:

These images come from P. Edward Murray of Yardley, Pennsylvania: "Last May, I was looking at a National Geographic map of the Moon (left) when suddenly I saw the Basketball Player in the Moon," he says. "Later, I sketched him onto a photo of a full Moon (right) I took using a 4.25-inch Astroscan telescope. My discovery was published in the August 2008 edition of The Lunar Observer, a monthly publication of ALPO. The basketball player can be seen a few days before full Moon and after."

Only one question remains: Which basketball player is it?

LunaBron James, of course.

more images: from Doug Zubenel of De Soto, Kansas; from Becky Ramotowski of Tijeras, New Mexico;

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 13, 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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