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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 296.5 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2229 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Nov19
24-hr: A0
1605 UT Nov19
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 19 Nov 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 18 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= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.6 nT
Bz: 2.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2247 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on or about Nov. 24th. Credit: Hinode X-ray Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Nov 19 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 19 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 19, 2008
NORTHERN LIGHTS: Did you sleep through the auroras of November? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.  

INTERPLANETARY INTERNET: Move over TCP/IP. NASA has developed a new communications protocol called Disruption-Tolerant Networking or DTN that allows Internet-style networking of remote spacecraft. DTN works during solar storms and eclipses, and it can handle extreme transmission delays typical of outer space communication. Using DTN, NASA has just tested a 10-node Interplanetary Internet: full story.

SILHOUETTES: On Nov. 15th in the skies above China, a winged shadow flitted across the Moon. It couldn't have been a bird, however, because it was flying 17,000 mph:

"The International Space Station (ISS) transited the Moon at 3:38 China Standard Time," says Xin Li of the Beijing Planetarium. "We photographed the event using a Meade 8" LX200 and a ToUCam video camera." The flyby occurred not long after the space shuttle docked with the ISS, so there are actually two spacecraft in the picture. Can you find Endeavour?

Two nights later, Nov. 17th, the ISS and Endeavour passed in front of the Moon again, this time over Cracow, Poland: photo.

Lunar transits are not rare, but they can be challenging to observe because the space station crosses the 0.5o face of the Moon in a split second. Usually the human behind the camera sees nothing until a later search through video frames reveals the fleeting silhouette.

There is an easier way. Look for the "anti-silhouette." In other words, watch the glowing body of the space station cross the great expanse of the night sky. The ISS outshines Jupiter and often Venus; you can't miss it! All you need are flyby times.

more images: from Mark Staples of Waldo, Florida; from Pieter Ibelings of Atlanta, Georgia; from David Tremblay of Alto, New Mexico;

CONVERGING PLANETS: "The anticipation builds as Venus and Jupiter approach each other for their spectacular conjunction with the Moon on December 1st," says astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake of Colorado Mountain College. "In the meantime, the view of the sky's two brightest planets set against the star clouds of the Milky Way isn't half bad, either!"

He took the picture last night from the dark countryside near Stagecoach, Colorado. "Dusk's fading light, wispy clouds, and aircraft headed for parts unknown combined to make a dramatic night scene," he says.

Not everyone has skies so dark and starry. Fortunately, you don't need dark skies to witness the ongoing convergence of Jupiter and Venus. The two bright planets beam through clouds, twilight and even urban light pollution. Step outside at sunset and take a look.Sky maps: Nov.19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, Dec 1.

more images: from Doug Zubenel at Kill Creek Park near De Soto, Kansas; from Tyler Burg of Omaha, Nebraska; from Bill Davis of Albuquerque, New Mexico; from Katy Giorgio of Boston, Massachusetts; from Val Germann of Columbia, Missouri;

Nov. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Novembers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000]

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 19, 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
2008 VZ3
Nov. 22
5.7 LD
55 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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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