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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 294.1 km/sec
density: 1.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: B5
1920 UT Nov02
24-hr: B6
0703 UT Nov02
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 02 Nov 12
None of these sunspots is actively flaring. Solar activity is low. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 48
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 Nov 2012

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Update 02 Nov 2012


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 98 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 02 Nov 2012

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.4 nT
Bz: 1.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes: 30 Oct 12
A minor solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Nov. 3-4. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2012 Nov 02 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
01 %
01 %
CLASS X
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: 2012 Nov 02 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
15 %
15 %
MINOR
10 %
10 %
SEVERE
05 %
05 %
 
Friday, Nov. 2, 2012
What's up in space
 

They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.

 
Own your own meteorite

QUIET SUN: For the 4th day in a row, no sunspots are actively flaring. Solar activity is low and likely to remain so for the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

TAURID FIREBALLS: Sky watchers should be alert for fireballs in the nights ahead. Forecasters say Earth might be heading for a swarm of gravelly debris from comet Encke. If so, meteoroids the size of pebbles and small stones hitting Earth's atmosphere at 25 km/s would produce a slow drizzle of very bright fireballs flying out of the constellation Taurus--hence the name "Taurids." The display is expected to peak with a few fireballs every hour during the nights of Nov. 5-12.

NASA's network of all-sky meteor cameras is already picking up some Taurid fireballs--"7 in the past two nights and 11 altogether since Halloween," reports Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office. Here are their orbits:

In the orbital diagram, the location of Earth is denoted by a red splat. The orbits of the meteoroids (yellow) roughly match that of parent Comet Encke (orange), confirming their association with the Taurid debris swarm.

"What always strikes me about the Taurids," notes Cooke, "is how deeply they penetrate Earth's atmosphere. On average, they make it to an altitude of 44 miles. Contrast this to the recent Orionids, which burn up at an average altitude of 58 miles. Part of this is due to the speed difference: Taurids are slow (27 km/s) while Orionids are fast (66 km/s). In addition, many Taurids are made up of stronger stuff than the Orionids."

Yesterday, Cooke received this report from a hunter in Tennessee, who was near the terminus of a Taurid fireball which made it all the way down to 18.5 miles altitude: "On the morning of October 30 at approximately 6:00 CDT I was walking into a hunting spot in the middle of the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. As I was standing, this bright white light appeared from the north, illuminating the woods like daylight, casting shadows of the trees, and as it passed overhead in a couple of seconds, the shadows quickly reversed direction. It was so intense I felt like a searchlight from an overhead helicopter was on me, but there was no noise. As it disappeared into the southern sky, I heard three extremely loud booms which I also felt much like a sonic boom from a plane. The resident birds all began to call for a minute after. In my 62 years of living on this planet, and witnessing several meteor showers- some very bright- I can tell you I have never witnessed anything like this. The experience was not totally unlike that seen in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the man's truck was stopped at a railroad crossing and he was engulfed in light!"

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

AMAZING ICE HALO DISPLAY: On Oct. 30th, sky watchers around the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, witnessed something amazing: A complex network of luminous arcs and rings surrounded the afternoon sun. "I've never seen anything quite like it," says eyewitness Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Solar physicist David Hathaway snapped this picture of the display:


Image credit and copyright: David Hathaway/NASA/MSFC

The apparition is almost certainly connected to hurricane Sandy. The core of the storm swept well north of Alabama, but Sandy's outer bands did pass over the area, leaving behind a thin haze of ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Sunlight shining through the crystals produced an unusually rich variety of ice halos.

"By my count, there are two sun dogs, a 22o halo, a parahelic circle, an upper tangent arc, and a parry arc," says Chris Brightwell, who also photographed the display. "It was amazing."

"Very impressive," agreed onlooker Kyle Winkleman. "This was a once-in-a-decade event for our area."

It might not be necessary to wait another decade for a repeat performance. Some researchers believe that superstorms will become more common in the years ahead as a result of climate change, creating new things both terrible and beautiful to see overhead. Sky watchers in the storm zone should remain alert for the unusual.

UPDATE: Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley comments on the Sandy-ice halo link: "Over the last few days there have been spectacular halo displays around the edge of Sandy from New England to Alabama. Hathaway's image like many others shows several very rare halo arcs, an upper Lowitz, helic and Parry supralateral."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery


Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery


Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]

  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 2, 2012 there were 1343 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2012 UW9
Oct 29
9.4 LD
--
31 m
2012 UU169
Oct 29
3 LD
--
32 m
2001 CV26
Oct 30
68 LD
--
2.4 km
2012 UL171
Nov 3
7.6 LD
--
17 m
2012 UX136
Nov 4
2.7 LD
--
35 m
2007 PA8
Nov 5
16.8 LD
--
2.4 km
2012 UV136
Nov 10
5.8 LD
--
33 m
2012 UY68
Nov 14
6.7 LD
--
44 m
2010 JK1
Nov 25
9.3 LD
--
56 m
2009 LS
Nov 28
55.2 LD
--
1.1 km
2009 BS5
Dec 11
8.4 LD
--
15 m
4179 Toutatis
Dec 12
18 LD
--
2.7 km
2003 SD220
Dec 23
59.8 LD
--
1.8 km
1998 WT24
Dec 23
69.2 LD
--
1.1 km
2003 UC20
Dec 29
25.7 LD
--
1.0 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
   
  more links...
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