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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: 309.8 km/sec
density: 0.9 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2015 UT Oct21
24-hr: A0
1600 UT Oct21
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2340 UT
Daily Sun: 21 Oct. 09
Tiny new-cycle sunspot 1028, which emerged yesterday for a few hours, is already fading away. Its remains may be found in this magnetic map. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 11
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Oct 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2009 total: 230 days (79%)
Since 2004: 741 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
explanation | more info
Updated 20 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: 8.5 nT
Bz: 5.4 nT south
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 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: 2009 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, 2009

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

 

METEOR SHOWER UPDATE: The Orionid meteor shower is still active. According to the International Meteor Organization, observers are now counting as many as 35 Orionids per hour. If it's dark where you live, go outside and look up. You might see a meteor every few minutes or so. Rates will be highest during the hours just before local sunrise.

The shower is caused by dusty debris from Halley's Comet, which litters the October portion of Earth's orbit. On Oct. 20th, a fragment of Halley cut across the skies of New Mexico where amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft operates an all-sky camera and forward scatter meteor radar. Click on the image to play a movie with soundtrack:

The eerie sound you just heard was a radio echo--a distant TV signal reflected from the meteor's ionized trail. Ashcraft records the reflections at 61.250 MHz and 55.250 MHz using a VHF antenna co-located with his all-sky camera. He says he'll be updating his radio fireball gallery as the shower intensifies.

Meanwhile at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Alabama, NASA astronomers have been monitoring Orionid activity using a two-station observatory with cameras separated by more than 100 miles. When a meteor is captured by both cameras, triangulation yields the meteor's height, direction and speed. "We find that most Orionids are hitting the atmosphere at about 140,000 mph," says lead researcher Bill Cooke.

This high speed accounts for the rapidity with which Orionids flit across the sky. "They are very fast meteors," he says.

For the past three years, Orionid rates have been unusually high, with reports of 60 or more meteors per hour. Researchers believe this is a result of some very old and rich debris from Comet Halley drifting across Earth's orbit. Computer models suggest that this debris is still nearby, so the trend of "good Orionids" should continue in 2009.

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


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 21, 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...
   
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