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SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 
Solar wind
speed: 343.5 km/sec
density: 1.3 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
2237 UT Oct23
24-hr: C2
1147 UT Oct23
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 23 Oct 11
Sunspot 1324 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for Earth-directed M-flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

more images: from Dennis Put of Brielle, The Netherlands; from Jo Dahlmans of Ulestraten The Netherlands; from Kamil Kusinski of Poland, Włoszczowa
Sunspot number: 164
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 22 Oct 2011

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

Updated 22 Oct 2011


The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 164 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 22 Oct 2011

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Credit: NOAA/POES
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
quiet
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 7.4 nT
Bz: 1.1 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2344 UT
Coronal Holes: 23 Oct 11
There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the sun. Credit: SDO/AIA.
SPACE WEATHER
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2011 Oct 23 2200 UTC
FLARE
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
CLASS M
20 %
20 %
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: 2011 Oct 23 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
05 %
30 %
MINOR
01 %
05 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
ACTIVE
10 %
40 %
MINOR
05 %
10 %
SEVERE
01 %
01 %
 
Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011
What's up in space
 

Turn your cell phone into a field-tested satellite tracker. Works for Android and iPhone.

 
Satellite flybys

ROSAT RE-ENTRY UPDATE: US Strategic Command has released an updated set of final orbital elements for ROSAT. Using these latest figures, German satellite decay expert Harro Zimmer estimates that the massive X-ray observatory re-entered Earth's atmosphere on Oct. 23rd at 01:56 UTC +/- 09. Best-fit coordinates (21.33°N, 100.32°E) suggest a re-entry over Northern Thailand.

SPACE WEATHER FORECAST FOR MARS: A bright CME blasted off the sun yesterday, Oct. 22nd, and it appears to be heading for Mars. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab expect the cloud to reach the Red Planet on Oct. 26th (forecast track). A brief discussion of what CMEs can do to Mars follows this SOHO image of the eruption:

Mars has a unique response to solar storms shaped by the planet's strange magnetic topology. Unlike Earth, which has a global magnetic field, Mars is patchily covered by dozens of "magnetic umbrellas"--remnants of an over-arching planetary field that decayed billions of years ago. When Mars gets hit by a CME, the resulting magnetic storms take place in the umbrellas. Circumstantial evidence collected by Mars Global Surveyor in the 1990s suggests that the tops of the umbrellas light up with bright ultraviolet auroras during such storms. Because the structures are distributed around the planet, these auroras can appear even at the equator.

Mars rovers and satellites should be alert for aurora equatorialis on Oct. 26th.

Bonus: Magnetic umbrellas are at the heart of one of Mars's greatest mysteries: What happened to the atmosphere? Billions of years ago, the air on Mars was thick enough to protect vast expanses of water on the planet’s surface. Now, however, the atmosphere is 100 times thinner than Earth's and the surface is bone dry. Some researchers believe that magnetic storms in the umbrellas could rip parcels of atmosphere away from Mars and propel air-filled magnetic bubbles into space. In this way, space weather could be directly responsible for the desiccation of the Red Planet.

WEEKEND METEOR SHOWER: The Orionid meteor shower peaked on Saturday, Oct. 22nd, when Earth passed through a stream of debris from Halley's comet. As many as 26 meteors per hour were visible from rural areas, according to the International Meteor Organization. Here is one of them streaking over the autumn leaves of Elverson, Pennsylvania:

"The sky was crystal clear and a moody fog was rising off the lake when I set up my camera at 1 o'clock Saturday morning," says photographer Jeff Berkes. "The Orionids we streaking bright and I counted a couple dozen during the night. I also saw 3 random meteors."

more photos: from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Olivier Staiger of Crans-Montana in the Swiss Alps; from Leo Lam of Luogang, Guangzhou, China; from Jefferson Teng of Bandar Lampung, Indonesia; from Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas, USA; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from Antti Pietikäinen of Muonio, Lapland, Finland; from Mark Staples of Waldo, Florida;

 


September 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004]

  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 23, 2011 there were 1256 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Mag.
Size
2011 UL10
Oct 21
3.5 LD
--
39 m
2011 UC64
Oct 24
1.3 LD
--
12 m
2011 UH10
Oct 24
9.6 LD
--
17 m
2011 FZ2
Nov 7
75.9 LD
--
1.6 km
2005 YU55
Nov 8
0.8 LD
--
200 m
1994 CK1
Nov 16
68.8 LD
--
1.5 km
1996 FG3
Nov 23
39.5 LD
--
1.1 km
2003 WM7
Dec 9
47.6 LD
--
1.5 km
1999 XP35
Dec 20
77.5 LD
--
1.0 km
2000 YA
Dec 26
2.9 LD
--
80 m
2011 SL102
Dec 28
75.9 LD
--
1.1 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 web 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 Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
STEREO
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
Heliophysics
  the underlying science of space weather
Science Central
 
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