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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 302.0 km/sec
density: 5.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
1930 UT Nov13
24-hr: A1
0915 UT Nov13
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 13 Nov. 09
The Earth-facing sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 12 Nov 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 days
2009 total: 240 days (76%)
Since 2004: 751 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 12 Nov 2009

Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals sunspot 1029 transiting the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 0 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 6.2 nT
Bz: 3.2 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 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: 2009 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: 2009 Nov 13 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 13, 2009

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


STUCK ON MARS: NASA is about to begin transmitting commands to its Mars rover Spirit as part of an escape plan to free the venerable robot from a Martian sand trap. Officials say there is little hope of freeing Spirit, with a best case senario of "severe wheel slippage" and "barely detectable forward progress." On the bright side, Spirit is stuck in a very interesting spot. Science@NASA has the full story.

SOLAR ACTIVITY: Friday the 13th could be a lucky day for astrophotographers. A photogenic scene is developing on the sun's northeastern limb, where a magnetic thicket of hot plasma is rising into view. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) made this movie of the action on Nov. 12th and 13th:

The swelling limb-glow heralds the approach of sunspot 1029, the biggest and most active sunspot of the year. Sunspot 1029 spent the past two weeks transiting the farside of the sun, invisible from Earth, but now it is about to reappear. Friday the 13th kicks off a 2- to 3-day photo-op as the sun's rotation slowly turns the active region back toward Earth. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

Archival images of sunspot 1029: from Jimmy Eubanks of Boiling Springs, South Carolina; from Dave Gradwell of Birr, Ireland; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Paul Haese of Blackwood, South Australia

WHICH WAY IS NORTH? Picture this: You're lost in Norway, it's pitch-black dark, and your compass just fell in deep snow. How would you find your way? Just follow the green glow:

Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway, has figured out how to use his digital camera as a makeshift compass. "On Nov. 10th, I pointed my Nikon D3 straight up and made a widefield 2-minute exposure," he says. "The resulting image shows how the heavens were divided into dark clear skies in the south and faint green auroras in the north." The Milky Way provided the dividing line.

Around the Arctic Circle (where Kvaløya is located) the night sky almost always offers a hint of green to orient wayward travelers. A camera might be required to find it, but it's there. Just don't drop your Nikon in the snow.

UPDATED: 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 13, 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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