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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 295.8 km/sec
density: 0.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
2300 UT Nov17
24-hr: A7
1300 UT Nov17
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 17 Nov. 09
Tiny sunspot 1031 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 12
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 16 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 242 days (76%)
Since 2004: 753 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 16 Nov 2009

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
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.0 nT
Bz: 1.5 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Nov. 20th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Nov 17 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: 2009 Nov 17 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 17, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.


METEOR RADAR: The Leonid meteor shower is peaking now. You can listen to the shower even if you can't see it because of clouds or daylight. The Air Force Space Surveillance Radar is scanning the skies above Texas, and when a Leonid passes over the facility--ping!--there is an echo. Tune into Spaceweather Radio for a live audio feed.

LEONID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is passing through a zone of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, and this is causing the annual Leonid meteor shower. If forecasters are correct, observers in Asia could witness an outburst of 200+ meteors per hour between the hours of 2100 and 2200 UT on Nov. 17th. Elsewhere, rates should peak at 20 to 30 meteors per hour.

This morning in Maghera, Northern Ireland, amateur astronomer Martin McKenna witnessed "the most incredible fireball of my life. I was frozen with astonishment and only managed to get these images of the fireball's smoky trail as the fireball itself faded. This was a sight I shall never forget!" he says.

Above: Leonid fireball debris on Nov. 17th. Credit M. McKenna.

more Leonid images: from Chris Peterson of Guffey, Colorado; from Andreas Gada of Oak Heights, Ontario; from Runar Sandnes of Reed, Norway; from Victor van Wulfen of Sutherland, South Africa; from Olivier Staiger in the Swiss Alps; from Malcolm Park of Grafton, Ontario, Canada;

Leonid resources:

IN HOT PURSUIT: Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center yesterday to begin an 11-day supply mission to the International Space Station. Photographer Peter P. Lardizabal was 22 miles from the launch pad, but he still got an eye-full:

"I took these pictures from the Canaveral National Seashore using a 130mm telescope and a Canon 30D digital camera," says Lardizabal. "It was a great show."

Atlantis is now orbiting Earth in hot pursuit of the ISS. When the two spacecraft dock on Nov. 18th, astronauts will begin unloading spare parts necessary to sustain ISS operations after space shuttles are retired in 2010-2011. Some of the equipment being delivered is large and at present can only be transported by the spacious shuttle.

The shuttle-ISS combo is very bright in the night sky. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flybys of your hometown.

November Northern Lights Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]

Explore the Sunspot Cycle

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 17, 2009 there were 1080 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Nov. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2009 UK14
Nov. 1
9.1 LD
29 m
2006 JY26
Nov. 2
6.7 LD
10 m
2000 XK44
Nov. 4
28.8 LD
1.1 km
2009 VA
Nov. 6
0.05 LD
6 m
2000 UJ1
Nov. 7
43.3 LD
1.2 km
2009 VT1
Nov. 9
1.4 LD
6 m
2000 TO64
Nov. 10
44.2 LD
1.9 km
2009 UK20
Nov. 12
6.5 LD
20 m
2009 VX
Nov. 12
2.6 LD
26 m
2009 VR
Nov. 13
6.6 LD
10 m
2009 VC1
Nov. 18
6.0 LD
21 m
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
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.













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