Would you like a call when things are happening in the night sky? Sign up for backyard astronomy alerts from spaceweather.com: voice or text.
QUIET WEEKEND: Solar activity is low. Not one of the six sunspot groups on the Earthside of the sun has the kind of unstable magnetic field that poses a threat for strong eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of X-class flares this weekend. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
NORTHERN LIGHTS: Earth is passing through a moderately fast stream of solar wind, and the encounter is sparking auroras around the Arctic Circle. During the early hours of Nov. 1st, Frank Olsen captured these panoramic images of the display over Roksøy, Norway:
"Because of the low-hanging half moon, the sky wasn't completely dark--perfect for aurora photography," says Olsen. "I had to put on some extra clothes to go out and take these pictures. Winter has arrived with a tiny layer of snow, and the air temperature was a chilly -8 C degrees."
Arctic photographers, keep your aurora outfit handy. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of polar geomagnetic storms this weekend as the solar wind continues to blow. Aurora alerts: text, voice
Aurora Photo Gallery
SOLAR ACIVITY ... BY THE NUMBERS: During the last two weeks of October, the biggest sunspot in nearly 25 years, AR2192, rotated across the solar disk crackling with strong flares. Spaceweather.com reader Sean Barnes
has prepared a summary of the eruptions. There were 26 M-flares, 6 X-flares and, perhaps most astronishly of all, zero Earth-directed CMEs. Click on the image below to browse the numbers in detail:
The monster sunspot was remarkable for both the large number of flares it produced and the small number of CMEs. When the magnetic canopy of a sunspot explodes, it typically produces a flash of electromagnetic radiation (a solar flare) and hurls a billion-ton cloud of gas (a CME) into space. The two phenomena don't always go together, but they often do. AR2192, however, was "all flash." It produced lots of solar flares but very few CMEs--only one, in fact. No one knows why.
Because AR2192 hurled zero CMEs toward Earth, our planet did not experience any geomagnetic storms during the sunspot's apparition. For aurora watchers, the Great Sunspot was actually a bit of a dud.
Right now AR2192 is transiting the farside of the sun. If it does not decay too much while it is there, the sunspot could return intact to the Earthside before mid-November. Then the numbers will start increasing again. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Space Weather Photo Gallery
Eclipse Photo Gallery
Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network
all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United
States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software
maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office
calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth
in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics.
Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.
On Oct. 31, 2014, the network reported 20 fireballs.
(16 sporadics, 2 Northern Taurids, 1 Orionid, 1 Southern Taurid)
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]
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
all the time.
November 1, 2014 there were 1510
potentially hazardous asteroids.
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.
official U.S. government space weather bureau
first place to look for information about sundogs,
pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO
is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial
and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
the NOAA Space Environment Center
underlying science of space weather