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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: 380.0 km/sec
density: 0.8 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Oct21
24-hr: A0
0100 UT Oct21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 21 Oct 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 19 Oct. 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= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 2.7 nT
Bz: 0.8 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.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Oct 21 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: 2008 Oct 21 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 21, 2008
BEHOLD THE SUN: Would you like to see fiery prominences and new-cycle sunspots with your own eyes? On sale now: Personal Solar Telescopes.  

BRIEF MYSTERY: A curiously short-lived type of gamma-ray burst has astronomers puzzled. Leading experts discuss the clues at today's Gamma-ray Burst Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama: full story.

LONG-RANGE FORECAST: Approximately nine days from now, a solar wind stream will hit Earth. That's a long-range forecast made possible for the first time by NASA's Stereo-B spacecraft. The stream is flowing from a coronal hole photographed this morning by the spacecraft's extreme ultraviolet telescope:

In years past, the longest-range forecasts of solar wind streams amounted to six or seven days. Stereo-B has extended the range to eight or nine days. It does this trick by looking over the sun's eastern horizon to find coronal holes before they can be seen from Earth. The orbit of Stereo-B is similar to Earth's, yet it lags 38o behind our planet, giving it an "around-the-bend" view of the sun.

Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras at the end of the month. A Halloween storm could be brewing.

Oct. 2008 Aurora Gallery
[Previous Octobers: 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000]

INSIDE THE STREAK: On Oct. 16th, a streak of light split the morning sky over Central Coast, Australia. Astronomer Mike Salway caught it with his Canon 350D:

What was it? A look inside the streak with Salway's 12-inch telescope provided the answer: click here.

"I like the shadow falling across the space station's radiators - I hadn't seen that before," says Salway. "Also, in this movie of the flyby, you can see a flare caused by sunlight glinting off a Progress rocket docked to the ISS."

The space station is now making dawn flybys of North America--and it's even visible in broad daylight. Readers, check the Satellite Tracker for viewing times.

more images: from Leonardo Julio of Buenos Aires, Argentina; from John Stetson of South Portland, Maine

       
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 21, 2008 there were 990 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Oct. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2008 QS11
Oct. 2
11 LD
14
470 m
2008 SH148
Oct. 4
5.8 LD
19
26 m
2005 GN59
Oct. 6
20 LD
15
1.4 km
2008 TC3
Oct. 7
IMPACT
-13
3 m
2008 TZ
Oct. 10
5.3 LD
18
37 m
1999 VP11
Oct. 16
72 LD
17
860 m
2001 UY4
Oct. 18
74 LD
17
1.1 km
Comet Barnard-Boattini
Oct. 22
75 LD
16
unknown
2008 TT26
Oct. 23
3.6 LD
15
70 m
2000 EX106
Oct. 23
69 LD
18
1.1 km
2005 VN
Oct. 29
4.1 LD
15
116 m
4179 Toutatis
Nov. 9
20 LD
14
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.
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
  a one-stop hub for all things scientific
  more links...
   
©2008, SpaceWeather.com -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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