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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
SPACE WEATHER
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 287.3 km/sec
density: 0.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2340 UT Oct20
24-hr: A0
2340 UT Oct20
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 20 Oct. 09
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 18 days
2009 total: 230 days (79%)
Since 2004: 741 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 19 Oct 2009

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= 1
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.3 nT
Bz: 0.2 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2345 UT
Coronal Holes:
Solar wind streams flowing from the indicated coronal holes could reach Earth on Oct. 23rd or 24th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2009 Oct 20 2201 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: 2009 Oct 20 2201 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
05 %
05 %
MINOR
01 %
01 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
October 20, 2009

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

 

AURORA WATCH: Polar sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights tonight. That's when a solar coronal mass ejection (CME) hurled toward Earth by an Oct. 17th explosion on the sun is expected to arrive. The incoming CME is not a big one, and its impact might have little or no visible effect. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of geomagnetic activity.

ORIONID METEOR SHOWER: The Orionid meteor shower is underway. Earth is passing through a stream of dusty debris from Halley's Comet, and this is causing meteors to shoot out of the constellation Orion. Earlier today, amateur astronomer Jefferson Teng photographed an Orionid fireball over Shanghai, China:


Photo details: Canon 350D, ISO400, 6 second exposure

"I woke up early in the morning to observe the shower through my bedroom window," says Teng. "This one was quite bright considering the light pollution in Shanghai."

Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Wednesday, Oct. 21st, with dozens of meteors per hour. The best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise. For best results, get away from city lights, but as Teng discovered, country darkness is not absolutely necessary.

UPDATED: 2009 Orionid Photo Gallery
[full story] [sky map] [previous years: 2006, 2008]

ROCKET FUEL DUMP: A Centaur rocket caused a minor sensation on Sunday night, Oct. 18th, when it flew over Europe and dumped a load of excess propellant. "We saw it at 9:15 pm local time (1915 UT)," report Federico and Chiara Bellini of Bodio Lomnago, Italy. "It looked like a comet with a fan-shaped tail." They took this 30-second exposure using a Nikon D70s:

"About 20 seconds later, a second object appeared." That was a US military weather satellite (DMSP F-18), which the Centaur booster had helped launch earlier in the evening from Vandenberg, Air Force Base in California. "And then," the Bellinis continue, "a big circular halo followed the two across the sky." The halo, shown here in a movie recorded by Jonas Förste of Jakobstad, Finland, was probably an expanding puff of gas emitted during an earlier firing of the Centaur.

This remarkable show surprised observers in almost every country of Europe. Browse the links below for more sightings.

more images:from Lloyd Betsworth of Podpec Nr Ljubljana, Slovenia; from Paul Beskeen of Bourn, Cambridge, UK; from Oliver Schneider of Leopoldshöhe, Germany; from Marko Posavec of Koprivnica, Croatia; from Davide Trezzi of Varenna, Italy; from Vince Tuboly of Hegyhátsál, Hungary; from Quentin D. of le Havre, Normandy, France; from Feys Filip of the Sasteria public observatory, Crete;


Sept. 2009 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 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 October 20, 2009 there were 1078 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2009 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2001 CV26
Oct. 8
9.8 LD
13
2.2 km
2009 TJ
Oct. 13
10.8 LD
18
130 m
2009 TM8
Oct. 17
0.9 LD
17
10 m
2009 TF8
Oct. 17
7.6 LD
19
20 m
2009 TH8
Oct. 19
4.5 LD
18
45 m
2009 UE
Oct. 19
2.5 LD
19
40 m
2009 UD
Oct. 20
2.0 LD
17
17 m
1999 AP10
Oct. 20
29.7 LD
13
2.7 km
2009 TO8
Oct. 21
7.4 LD
19
27 m
2009 UJ
Oct. 22
6.8 LD
19
25 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.
STEREO
  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, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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