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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

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Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.

SPACE WEATHER
Current
Conditions

Solar Wind

speed: 452.9 km/s
density:
3.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
C1 1645 UT Oct22
24-hr: C9 1535 UT Oct22
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2240 UT

Daily Sun: 22 Oct '02
Sunspots 160 and 162 have twisted beta-gamma magnetic fields that harbor energy for M-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

The Far Side of the Sun

This holographic image reveals perhaps one or two sunspots on the far side of the Sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI

Sunspot Number: 150
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 21 Oct 2002

Coronal Holes:

A large coronal hole is approaching the Sun's central meridian. Solar wind gusts from the hole could buffet Earth's magnetosphere as early as Oct. 25th. Image credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope.
More about coronal holes

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.7 nT
Bz:
4.8 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT


SPACE WEATHER
NOAA
Forecasts

Solar Flares: Probabilities for a medium-sized (M-class) or a major (X-class) solar flare during the next 24/48 hours are tabulated below.
Updated at 2002 Oct 22 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 50 % 50 %
CLASS X 05 % 05 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2002 Oct 22 2200 UTC

Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 25 % 25 %
MINOR 10 % 05 %
SEVERE 01 % 01 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 25 %
MINOR 15 % 10 %
SEVERE 05 % 01 %


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What's Up in Space -- 22 Oct 2002
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AURORA OUTLOOK: Earth has been inside a high-speed solar wind stream for days, yet there have been no widespread auroras. Why not? The interplanetary magnetic field is pointing north--a condition which suppresses geomagnetic activity. This could change, however, on Oct. 25th when our planet runs into another solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole.

SUN PILLARS: Yesterday, Dirk Obudzinski of Sedona, Arizona, spotted this beam of light shooting upward from the setting Sun. It is a Sun pillar caused by airborne ice crystals. These crystals form high in Earth's atmosphere where it is always cold, so you could see a Sun pillar anywhere--even in a hot and dry place like Arizona.

BIG SUNSPOT: Sunspot 162 stretches more than 10 Earth-diameters from end to end and poses a threat for M-class solar flares. You can easily see this active region, but never stare directly at the Sun. Use safe solar projection methods instead.

AURORA SEASON: October has been a good month for auroras. Sky watchers have seen weird ring-shaped auroras, auroras in Arizona, auroras in Tasmania, and auroras so intense they penetrated thick clouds.

WEB LINKS: NOAA FORECAST | GLOSSARY | SPACE WEATHER TUTORIAL | LESSON PLANS | BECOME A SUBSCRIBER



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 are on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On 22 Oct 2002 there were 468 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

Oct. 2002 Earth-asteroid encounters
ASTEROID

 MISS DISTANCE

 MAG.
2002 SQ41

 Oct. 21

 33 LD

 18
2002 GT

 Oct. 30

 38 LD

 16
1997 XF11

 Oct. 31

 25 LD

 13
Notes: LD is a "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.

  • SUMMER AURORAS: August was a good month for auroras. Visit our gallery and see what happened in the skies of Europe and North America.
  • NEARBY ASTEROID: Asteroid 2002 NY40 came so close to Earth on August 18th that people could see it through binoculars or small telescopes. [gallery]
  • PERSIEDS 2002: Sky watchers spotted plenty of bright shooting stars--including some colorful earthgrazers--during the 2002 Perseid meteor shower. [gallery]
  • AURORA SURPRISE: An unexpected geomagnetic storm began on August 1st as night fell across North America. Sky watchers spotted vivid auroras over both the United States and Canada.
  • CRESCENT SUN: The June 10th solar eclipse is long over, but new pictures of the event keep appearing. Visit our growing photo gallery and see for yourself. There are strange shadows, weird sunsets, eclipse dogs, crescent-eyed turkeys and extraordinary rings of fire. [more]
  • COMET IKEYA-ZHANG: The brightest comet in years delighted sky watchers in March and April 2002. [gallery]
  • GONE JUPITER: On Feb. 22, 2002, the Moon had a close encounter with Jupiter. [gallery]
  • GONE SATURN: On Feb. 20, 2002, the Moon glided in front of Saturn and its mysterious rings. [gallery]
  • HOT COMET: Periodic comet 96P/Machholz put on a dazzling show as it swung by the Sun on Jan. 8, 2002.
  • ASTEROID FLYBY: Asteroid 2001 YB5 raced past Earth on Jan. 7, 2002, only two times farther away than the Moon. [gallery]
  • SUBTLE ECLIPSE: The Moon dipped into the outskirts of Earth's shadow on Dec. 30, 2001. [gallery]
  • MOON & SATURN: The Moon keeps getting in the way of Saturn! See the series of close encounters here.
  • CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: On Christmas Eve, 2001, a solar wind stream triggered Northern Lights. [gallery]
  • SOLAR ECLIPSE: Sky watchers in Hawaii and most parts of North America experienced a partial solar eclipse on Dec. 14th. [gallery]
  • BRIGHT ASTEROID: Videos and images of 1998 WT24 -- a big and bright near-Earth asteroid that came close to our planet on Dec. 16, 2001. [gallery]
  • NORTHERN LIGHTS: On Nov. 24th a pair of coronal mass ejections swept past Earth and triggered worldwide auroras.
  • LEONIDS 2001: Some people saw it. Others heard it. In either case, they'll never forget it: The 2001 Leonid meteor storm.
  • PERSEIDS 2001: Perseid watchers on August 12th spotted meteors, auroras, and a disintegrating Russian rocket! [gallery]
  • MORNING PLANETS: In July and Aug. 2001, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury put on a dazzling early-morning sky show. [gallery]
  • ECLIPSE SAFARI: Onlookers cried out in delight on June 21, 2001, when the Moon covered the African Sun, revealing the dazzling corona. [gallery]
  • TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Jan. 9, 2001, the full Moon glided through Earth's copper-colored shadow. [gallery]
  • CHRISTMAS ECLIPSE: Sky watchers across North America enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day 2000 [gallery]
  • LEONIDS 2000: Observers around the globe enjoyed three predicted episodes of shooting stars. [gallery]


 

 

 

 

 

 
Editor's Note: Space weather forecasts that appear on this site are based in part on data from NASA and NOAA satellites and ground-monitoring stations. Predictions and explanations are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips; they are not official statements of any government organ or guarantees of space weather activity.

Essential Web Links

NOAA Space Environment Center -- The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. (European Mirror Site)

Daily Sunspot Summaries -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Current Solar Images --a gallery of up-to-date solar pictures from the National Solar Data Analysis Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Recent Solar Events -- a nice summary of current solar conditions from lmsal.com.

SOHO Farside Images of the Sun from SWAN and MDI.

The Latest SOHO Coronagraph Images -- from the Naval Research Lab

The Sun from Earth -- daily images of our star from the Big Bear Solar Observatory

List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

Observable Comets -- from the Harvard Minor Planet Center.

What is the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? -- A lucid answer from the University of Michigan. See also the Anatomy of Earth's Magnetosphere.

Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from NASA's ACE spacecraft.

More Real-time Solar Wind Data -- from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Proton Monitor.

Aurora Forecast --from the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute

Daily Solar Flare and Sunspot Data -- from the NOAA Space Environment Center.

Lists of Coronal Mass Ejections -- from 1998 to 2001

What is an Iridium flare?

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; Jan-Mar, 2001; Apr-Jun., 2001; Jul-Sep., 2001; Oct-Dec., 2001; Jan-Mar., 2002; Apr-Jun., 2002; Jul-Sep., 2002; Oct-Dec., 2002;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars

Radio Meteor Rate
24 hr max:
29 per hr
Listen to the Meteor Radar!
Updated: 08 June 2002

Sunspot Number: -1
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 21 Oct 2002

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