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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: 281.3 km/s
density:
48.7 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2256 UT

Note: Solar wind detectors onboard NASA's ACE spacecraft are currently saturated by the ongoing radiation storm. That is the (ironic) reason why solar wind values listed above are so low. Click here for better numbers from SOHO.

X-ray Solar Flares

6-hr max:
M2 1615 UT Oct28
24-hr: X17 1110 UT Oct28
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2140 UT

Daily Sun: 28 Oct '03
Sunspots 484 and 486 pose a continued threat for strong X-class solar flares. Image credit: SOHO MDI

Sunspot Number: 238
What is the sunspot number?
Updated: 27 Oct 2003

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 8.9 nT
Bz:
1.7 nT south
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2257 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 2003 Oct 27 2200 UTC
FLARE 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
CLASS M 90 % 90 %
CLASS X 50 % 50 %

Geomagnetic Storms: Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at 2003 Oct 27 2200 UTC
Mid-latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 35 % 35 %
MINOR 25 % 25 %
SEVERE 15 % 15 %

High latitudes
0-24 hr 24-48 hr
ACTIVE 30 % 30 %
MINOR 35 % 35 %
SEVERE 25 % 25 %

What's Up in Space -- 28 Oct 2003
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EXTREME SOLAR ACTIVITY: One of the most powerful solar flares in years erupted from giant sunspot 486 this morning at approximately 1110 UT. The blast measured X17 on the Richter scale of solar flares. As a result of the explosion, a strong S3-class solar radiation storm is underway. Click here to learn how such storms can affect our planet. The explosion also hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. When it left the sun, the cloud was traveling 2125 km/s (almost 5 million mph). This CME could trigger bright auroras when it sweeps past our planet perhaps as early as tonight.

Above: This SOHO coronagraph image captured at 12:18 UT shows the coronal mass ejection of Oct. 28th billowing directly toward Earth. Such clouds are called halo CMEs. The many speckles are solar protons striking the coronagraph's CCD camera. See the complete movie.

Where will the auroras appear? High-latitude sites such as New Zealand, Scandinavia, Alaska, Canada and US northern border states from Maine to Washington are favored, as usual, but auroras could descend to lower latitudes when the CME pictured above sweeps past Earth.

Right: Photographer Lance Taylor of Alberta, Canada, spotted these vivid Northern Lights on Oct. 21st. [gallery]

Not all CMEs trigger auroras. Several, for instance, have swept past Earth in recent days without causing widespread displays. It all depends on the orientation of tangled magnetic fields within the electrified cloud of gas. The incoming CME is no exception. It might cause auroras, or it might not. We will find out when it arrives.

Would you like a phone call when auroras appear over your home town? Sign up for Spaceweather PHONE.



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 28 Oct 2003 there were 540 known Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids

October 2003 Earth-asteroid encounters
ASTEROID

 MISS DISTANCE

 MAG.
2003 SS84

Oct. 11

8 LD

 17
1998 FG2

Oct. 21

15 LD

 17
2003 TL4

Oct. 26

12 LD

 15
2001 KZ66

Oct. 30

31 LD

 16
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.

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.

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. (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. See also the GOES-12 Soft X-ray Imager.

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. How powerful are solar wind gusts? Read this story from Science@NASA.

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? See also Photographing Satellites by Brian Webb.

Vandenberg AFB missile launch schedule.

What is an Astronomical Unit, or AU?

Mirages: Mirages in Finland; An Introduction to Mirages;

NOAA Solar Flare and Sunspot Data: 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; Jan-Mar., 2003; Apr-Jun., 2003;

Recent International Astronomical Union Circulars

GLOSSARY | SPACE WEATHER TUTORIAL

Editor's Note: Space weather and other forecasts that appear on this site are formulated by Dr. Tony Phillips. They are not official statements of any government agency (including NASA) nor should they be construed as guarantees of space weather or other celestial activity.

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Dr. Tony Phillips
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