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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 335.0 km/sec
density: 0.4 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Nov14
24-hr: A0
2245 UT Nov14
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 14 Nov 08
New cycle sunspot 1008 is slowly decaying. Credit: SOHO/MDI

more images: from Sandeep Sahijpal of Chandigarh, India; from David Leong of Hong Kong; from Andy Yeung of Hong Kong
Sunspot number: 16
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 13 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= 0
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.1 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 14 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 14 2201 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
November 14, 2008
WAKE UP! Did you sleep through the auroras of October? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

NIGHT LAUNCH: Forecasters say there is a 70% chance of good weather for the launch of space shuttle Endeavour from the Kennedy Space Center later today. Blast-off is scheduled for 7:55 pm EST. If all goes as planned, the spectacular night launch will be widely visible from central Florida, and the glow of the shuttle's main engines will be seen all along the US Atlantic Coast as Endeavour ascends to orbit. [launch blog]

FOLLOW THAT STAR! What is this astronomer tracking through the light-polluted skies of Hong Kong? The answer lies in the eyepiece.

Click to launch a 1.4 MB movie

It's the International Space Station flying over the south coast of China on Nov. 13th. "The ISS was moving so fast, I had to unlock the mount and guide my telescope by hand," says photographer Wah!. He recorded the action using a Canon 450D and a fisheye lens. "I hope you like the animation of me."

The next time ISS flies over Hong Kong, it won't be alone. Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to blast off from Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 14th for a weekend rendezvous with the space station. Endeavour will deliver a toilet, sleeping quarters, a waste recycling system and other items needed to expand the station's crew from three to six in the spring of 2009. The eyepiece of that telescope is about to get crowded. Be alert for flybys.

more images: from Ralf Vandebergh of the Netherlands

CORONAGRAPHS: Yesterday, astronomers announced that the Hubble Space Telescope had used its onboard coronagraph to block the light of a nearby star (Fomalhaut), revealing a planet in orbit. Hubble proceeded to take the first visible-light snapshot of a world outside our solar system.

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has been doing this trick for years. Every day the spacecraft beams back coronagraph images of our own sun, revealing stars, planets, comets and asteroids that would otherwise be lost in the glare. Today's image captured Mars and Mercury:

The two planets are converging on the Sun and next week, during the days around Thanksgiving in the USA, the trio will gather inside a circle less than three degrees in diameter. Looking up at noon, you'd never guess there are two planets hugging that star. What you need, of course, is a coronagraph. Click here for live images from SOHO.

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 14, 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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